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Jets to beat Kings 

The Los Angeles Kings are absolutely rolling right now, lifting their current winning streak to eight games Thursday night with a shutout win over Ottawa. They will be concluding a four-game Canadian road swing in Winnipeg. The Jets just so happen to be the last team the Kings lost to before going on this run, skating to a 3-2 win fueled by Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois and a career-best performance by backup Eric Comrie.

As impressive as the Kings current stretch has been, they’ve mostly won close games and have gotten by on solid goaltending from Jonathan Quick, who has been on a heater to start the 2021-22 campaign. Eventually, you run into a wall and I think that wall could come at the end of a week-long road trip that featured four games over six days. The schedule favors the homestanding Jets.

Winnipeg got past one of their trickier opponents Thursday with a win over the San Jose Sharks. This will be the sixth consecutive game on home ice for the Jets against the Kings and they’re about to get a couple of days off before their next contest, also at home. I think this will be the game that trips up the Kings in the end.

Maple Leafs to beat Sabres 

Both the Maple Leafs and Sabres will be coming off of Friday night games. It puts the two squads on equal footing, but these are also two teams trending in opposite directions.

Toronto has overcome an early-season swoon and is starting to get major contributions more consistently from their biggest stars. Just looking at the top of their stat chart, all is as it should be with John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Auston Matthews at the top.

After having to take on Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the rest of the surging Edmonton Oilers, one wonders how much the Sabres will have left in the tank, even though they’re going to be on home ice. Buffalo had another promising start to the season with points in six of their first seven games. Now they’re winless in November.

It will take a Herculean goaltending effort from Buffalo to manage to pull points out of this game, so I’m going with the Leafs.

Penguins to beat Senators 

The Penguins are depleted, but not as much as the Senators are. Ottawa has dealt with some of the worst COVID-19 protocol issues of any team. On top of that, Artem Zub, one of the team’s top defensemen left Thursday’s game with an injury and his status going forward is not clear.

This Ottawa team has kept battling as much as they could, but they’re winless in their last six games and have found the win column just three times. The Penguins, meanwhile, have pulled points out of each of their last four games, two of them wins including a gutsy shootout victory over the league-leading Florida Panthers.

Not knowing how many, if any players are going to be coming back to the Senators lineup for Saturday night’s contest, I think the Penguins are the team with more legit NHL talent between the two right now. Additionally, Pittsburgh is getting way better goaltending out of Tristan Jarry this year as he will enter Saturday’s game with a .929 save percentage.

Golden Knights to beat Canucks 

The Golden Knights have been dealing with a lot of injuries, the Canucks have been dealing with woeful inconsistency throughout the season. Vancouver is on a mini road trip that started with a 7-1 shellacking at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche sans Nathan MacKinnon. The Canucks have lost six of their last eight and are spiraling right out of any notion they can contend for the playoffs this season.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, have underperformed based on their previous standards but are starting to hit their stride. They’ve won seven of their last nine games while dealing with a lot of injuries and absences from their lineup. The latest was an impressive, hard-fought 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. They’ve started their current six-game homestand with a pair of wins and have been better on home ice since a mini swoon at the beginning of the season.

On top of that, captain Mark Stone is appearing closer to returning to the lineup, so that is something to watch. With confidence growing in the makeshift roster the Knights have put together in the absence of some of their stars, I’ve got them winning this one over a Canucks team still searching for its identity. 

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