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Penguins to beat Senators 

The Sens have had their moments of late, with a 7-4-1 record over their last 12 games including a sweep of both Albertan NHL teams. But they just laid an egg on home ice with a 3-1 loss to Buffalo and now have to go into Pittsburgh and take on a Penguins squad that has won 13 of their last 15 games.

On top of that, the Penguins are about as healthy as they’ve been all season with the return of superstar Evgeni Malkin, who has four points over his first four games back in the lineup. It’s going to be tough for Ottawa to keep the Penguins’ offensive attack at bay.

The Senators have definitely recovered from their horrendous start to the season and pushed back a bit more, but being competitive against one of the league’s hottest teams while on the road is quite another task. The Sens did beat Pittsburgh 6-3 earlier in the season, but that was a depleted Penguins roster.

Now, with Pittsburgh at full strength, they’re skating and scoring teams right out of the building. With a few days off after a long road trip, I’d expect Pittsburgh to be ready to roll on home ice.

Predators to beat Jets 

The Predators are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, having lost four straight games. Meanwhile Mattias Ekholm is in COVID-19 protocols and Dante Fabbro is out with an injury, which diminishes their blue line by a fair amount. However, they’ve often managed to stop the bleeding this year when they've struggled as they have in the last few weeks.

The Jets, meanwhile, will be without Nikolaj Ehlers, who was injured on a hit from Dmitry Orlov that drew a suspension from the NHL. Blake Wheeler still isn’t available either and Paul Stastny’s status for the game Thursday is unclear. Those are significant pieces that the Jets could use to get one over on their divisional foes.

The Predators being at home, coming off of yet another disappointing loss, you’d have to expect some pushback from the John Hynes-led team. Nashville has been one of the most pleasant surprises this season. I don’t see the slide continuing.

Both teams have some key losses, but the Preds have home ice advantage and the benefit of not traveling for a few days, while the Jets are missing a significant source of offense in a game that likely will be a lower-scoring affair. Preds stop the skid at home.

Panthers to beat Oilers 

It’s just not very fun to be an Edmonton Oiler at the moment. Players are openly voicing their frustration, they’re getting into squabbles with the media, the head coach might be on the hot seat, the GM is under fire to make some changes and they’ve won just two games in their last 14 as they sputter right out of the playoff picture and further down a hole they had no expectation of being in.

Coming off of a demoralizing loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Oilers have had a few days off to prepare for the red-hot Florida Panthers. The Cats own the third-best points percentage in the league and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 contests. The road has not been kind to Florida, though. They’ve won just five of 15 games as the away side. Still, they’ll be taking on a vulnerable opponent as Edmonton is struggling and has a sizable chunk of its roster injured or in health protocols.

Edmonton essentially has no choice but to put in Mikko Koskinen, who has given up three or more goals in each of his last six starts.

I think we’re going to see some push back from the Oilers. They’re going to be playing angry. But I don’t think it’s going to help them against a team that is absolutely steamrolling teams as the Panthers are presently.

Golden Knights to beat Canadiens 

The Habs have a new GM and did pick up a win at Dallas on Tuesday, but it’s always tough to go into Vegas and play the Knights. Or at least it normally is. Vegas has been skidding a bit with five losses in their last six games, all on home ice. They’ve only had one game in the last week, though, so it’s a perfect time for them to reset and get back in the win column.

Montreal is still missing a ton of regulars to injury or COVID-19 protocols, while Vegas is still short a few due to injuries as well. The Golden Knights have the depth and the goaltending, however, to manage a bit better even though they’ve been struggling of late.

I can’t see the Golden Knights continuing this downward trend on home ice when they’ve got a weaker opponent on the opposite side. There’s going to be pressure to pick up the two points here and I feel like Vegas will deliver.

BETWAY BOOST: Predators, Panthers and Golden Knights all to win