NHL four-fold: Tasty tips for Tuesday’s action on the ice
The Predators are ready to climb up the standings, while the Los Angeles Kings should snap their losing streak…
Chicago Blackhawks to beat Winnipeg Jets –
This will be a really interesting match-up between two teams that know how to score goals.
The Chicago Blackhawks have dominated the Western Conference so far. They are on top of the standings and have scored 3.31 goals per game – the highest mark in the conference.
The Winnipeg Jets, meanwhile, sit fourth in the standings and rank third in scoring with 2.88 per game.
Overall, Chicago are the better team here. They concede 2.38 per game to the Jets’ 2.94.
The Jets also often struggle in faceoff situations, with a success rate of 45.0 – the worst number in the whole league.
Teams can’t afford to lose faceoffs against a team that has dangerous forwards like Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin in their line-up.
The Blackhawks are a lethal goal scoring unit and they can defend too – and that’s why they lead the league in the shot-plus-save percentage stat category.
Los Angeles Kings to beat Colorado Avalanche –
The Los Angeles Kings have struggled lately and have lost three games in a row, but that won’t go on forever. They will likely turn their fortunes around in this game.
The Kings are the best puck-possession team in the NHL at the moment. They lead the league in SAT percentage with 54.40 and are an elite side in almost all of the possession categories.
They can also really take the game to their opposition, as indicated by the fact that LA have the second-most offensive-zone faceoffs in the league.
Peter Budaj has proved to be a decent backup for the injured superstar goalie Jonathan Quick. So they should be fine goaltending-wise too.
The only thing that’s holding the Kings back is their power play production. Their power play percentage is just 9.8 per cent, which is the third worst number in the league.
Nevertheless, are still a very good team and if the play the way they have been the results will come.
Nashville Predators to beat Toronto Maple Leafs –
Here they come, folks. The Nashville Predators are finally winning games.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne has been outstanding in their three-game winning streak, and James Neal has started to find the back of the net, scoring four goals in those three fixtures.
The Preds are a team with fine balance between their offence and defence.
And now with Neal and Filip Forsberg scoring – and defensemen P.K. Subban and Roman Josi supporting them – the Preds will be a difficult team to stop.
The Leafs have allowed the most shots against per game in the league – 34.3 per cent – and also have conceded third most goals in the league with 3.60.
It’s safe to say that they don’t really have the defensive abilities to stop the red-hot Predators.
Even if the Predators start the 21-year-old Juuse Saros in the net, they still should be the winners.
Saros has been really good in the AHL, and in his only NHL game this season he led the Preds to a win against the defending Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins.
Look for the Predators to smash the Leafs in this one.
Minnesota Wild to beat Calgary Flames –
This match-up doesn’t look good for the Calgary Flames, who are on a horrible four-game losing streak.
The Flames have scored just four goals during their slump and their 3.63 goals allowed per game is the NHL’s highest mark.
Calgary are the second-worst power play and penalty kill team. And their problems don’t end there.
Their puck-possession numbers aren’t that bad but they have trouble finishing scoring opportunities and are a mess in their defensive zone.
This is evidenced by their shot-plus-save-percentage number of 976, which is far worse than Minnesota’s mark of 1033.
The Wild are a strong team when playing on home ice as they’ve won 4 out of 5 home games, and they concede the fewest goal per game in the NHL.
They should extend the Flames’ losing streak to five games.