We have now completed our first weekend of the hockey season. And doesn’t it feel wonderful? Let’s look ahead to Monday night for our NHL Daily Predictions.
|Avalanche vs Bruins
ML +175 / -210
|Blues vs Islanders
ML Off / Off
|Devils vs Sabres
ML +105 / -115
|Blackhawks vs Maple Leafs
ML Off / Off
|Capitals vs Lightning
ML +100 / -120
|Jets vs Oilers
ML +150 / -170
|Flames vs Ducks
ML Off / Off
Here are tonight’s starting goaltenders, courtesy of LeftWingLock.
The Game to Watch: Blackhawks vs Maple Leafs.
Chicago and Toronto already have some incredible offensive performances under their belt in this young season.
In their first game Thursday night, the Chicago Blackhawks put up a 10-spot on the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. They chased Antti Niemi from the net just nine minutes into his Pittsburgh debut and blew the Penguins out of the United Center. Two nights later, the Hawks dominated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-1.
Brandon Saad has a hat trick under his belt already. Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman are tied for second in the league in scoring.
The Maple Leafs have matched the Blackhawks in the goal department with 15 of their own in their first two contests. On opening night, Auston Matthews and company got the best of the Winnipeg Jets 7-2. On Saturday, the Leafs came out hot against the New York Rangers, putting up five in the opening frame. Though the Rangers would claw their way back and tie the game, the Leafs would pot three in the third period to clinch an 8-5 victory.
Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri both have four points already. Patrick Marleau, who has three points, is trying to prove his signing was worth it early in the year.
Toronto has proven already that their show travels well. They opened their season in Winnipeg, put up seven goals, then came home and scored eight more. Chicago has not had a road game yet this season. Last season did not end so well for Chicago, as they lost their last five road games- including two postseason losses in Nashville.
The special teams battle is going to be interesting to watch. NHL officials are clearly trying to call games tighter and increase the number of powerplays per game in an attempt at boosting scoring.
Toronto has taken full advantage of this, striking five times on 10 powerplay chances so far this young season. Chicago has scored once on eight attempts.
The Blackhawks don’t take very many penalties. Chicago was 29th in penalty minutes last season, and they remain at 29th in penalties since 2014.
Discipline will be key in keeping the Maple Leafs at bay. The Hawks are much better than the Leafs at 5-on-5 anyway.
Chicago typically does very well against Toronto, as they are 13-3 in their last 16 meetings.
Prediction: Take the Blackhawks to win. Play the over.
Other NHL Daily Predictions
Capitals vs Lightning: Alex Ovechkin, man.
Ovi must still be really upset that he won’t be going to the Olympics this year so he’s taking out his aggression on the rest of the National Hockey League. He followed up a hat trick in Ottawa with a four-goal performance at home against the Montreal Canadiens, opening the scoring just 20 seconds into play. His seven goals leads the league, shocker.
He is the first player in exactly 100 years to open the season with back-to-back hat tricks.
For frame of reference, last season it took Ovi until November 5th to get his seventh goal and until November 23rd to hit double digits. Who knows. A big night tonight could get him there.
Did I mention that six of his goals came within two periods? Three in the third against Ottawa, three in the first against Montreal? Yeah.
Credit also goes to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has himself seven assists for Washington. So skeptics of whether or not the Caps’ offense would suffer after losing Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Kevin Shattenkirk will have to quiet down for at least a week. I’m looking in a mirror when I say that.
The Tampa Bay Lightning‘s season opened in unusual fashion: a home-and-home with the Florida Panthers. Very rarely do home-and-homes occur this early in the season, especially against in-state rivals. The Bolts split the pair, with the home team winning each matchup.
Starting off the year hot for the Lightning is Brayden Point. Point snuck under the radar and had a solid rookie season as a 20-year-old last season, tallying 40 points in 68 games. Point has two goals and three assists to start the season.
This will be the first full season without Ben Bishop for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a few years. Andrei Vasilevskiy is being handed the reins of the starting job as a 23-year-old, with Peter Budaj backing him up. Budaj had himself a career year in Los Angeles last season and was dealt to Tampa in exchange for Bishop. Even last year’s successes couldn’t buy Budaj a starting gig somewhere.
I acknowledge Vasilevskiy is very talented, and in some cases brilliant. But he is young and still going through serious growing pains. His numbers are nothing short of pedestrian in his young NHL career. He has plenty of time to develop, but the Bolts are looking to compete right now. He may hold them back.
While Ovechkin vs Nikita Kucherov may be the matchup on the marquee, I’m more looking forward to Ovechkin vs the Tampa Bay defense. Dan Girardi is on Tampa Bay top pair.
You can just about hear Ovi licking his chops.
Prediction: Take the Caps to win. Play the over.
Blues vs Islanders: The St. Louis Blues cover a lot of ground in their first two weeks.
They spoiled banner-raising night in Pittsburgh, then headed back home and beat the Dallas Stars Saturday. This week, they have a pair of games in New York against the Islanders in Rangers, then they fly down to Florida to take on the Panthers and Lightning. Then next week, it’s home one day and in Colorado and Vegas the next.
That’s a rough way to start the year.
But the Blues are making it work so far. They topped the Penguins in overtime and used a three-goal first period to beat the Stars despite getting outshot 40-21.
Brooklyn was shutout in their season opener but followed it up the next night with a 6-3 home victory over Buffalo. John Tavares had two goals and an assist in the win.
The Islanders are starting to get what they hoped for out of Jordan Eberle- an instant connection with John Tavares. The two look good on the top line together, the kind of skill complement that even Kyle Okposo never really offered.
Casey Cizikas also had a pair of goals against Buffalo. The powerplay was 0-for-3 and looked a tad scattered, but again, it’s early.
The home team has won four of the last five meetings between these two teams. Bet on that being a factor tonight.
Great job tonight isles fans. The barc was rocking 🎉
— Calvin de Haan (@cal_dehaan) October 8, 2017
Prediction: Take the Islanders to win tonight. Play the under.
Jets vs Oilers: We’ve seen Laine-Matthews this season. It’s time now for Laine-McDavid.
After netting a hat trick in their season opener, Connor McDavid was held off the scoresheet against the Vancouver Canucks in a 3-2 loss.
Patrik Laine has a goal and an assist on the year, but sadly cannot singlehandedly keep the puck from reaching the back of the Jets’ net. Winnipeg has allowed 13 goals in two games.
The engines have hiccuped just a bit starting up. But give it a bit of time and they’ll be revving and ready to go.
Edmonton swept the regular season series last year from the Winnipeg Jets. They took two of three from Winnipeg the year prior, their lone loss coming in the shootout.
The Jets’ defense just isn’t all there yet. If there was a game where McDavid and Leon Draisaitl could really put the pedal to the metal, this is the one.
Prediction: Take the Oilers to win. Play the over.
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