NHL Playoffs Monday Night Predictions!
Desperation Time For Pens and Oilers
Pittsburgh Penguins (5) vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)
Game 1 of this Play-in series was in a thrilling overtime game that resulted in a defeat for the Penguins. The Habs played a physical game by racking up 53 hits compared to the Pens who had 30. I didn't expect the Habs to play a physical brand of hockey, but it looks like it may have to be their path to victory in this series against a Penguins team loaded with talent. Malkin was held off the scoresheet in Game 1, but he had a team high 8 shots on goal, which is a good sign for Penguins fans. Also, the Penguins went 1/7 on the power play in Game 1, which is not a good sign considering their star-studded power play units. To no surprise, the Habs are rolling with Price this series, and the Penguins are going to go with Matt Murray in net for Game 2 again. Unless Price can stand on his head, I see the Penguins coming out the much hungrier and desperate team in Game 2 to pick up the win. Look for the experienced stars on the Penguins to take over game 2.
Bodog Moneyline: Pittsburgh Penguins (-170) vs. Montreal Canadiens (+150)
Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins (-170)
Edmonton Oilers (5) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)
The Oilers got embarrassed in Game 1. They lost the game 6-4 and were outplayed by a hungry Blackhawks squad led by a 5 point performance from Dominik Kubalik. The Oilers were outshot 42-29 and allowed the Blackhawks to have 6 power plays. Even in defeat, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl managed to put up 3 points in Game 1, but those numbers don't matter when you can't keep the puck out of the net. The Oilers goaltending is a concern. Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 23 shots before being pulled and replaced by Mikko Koskinen, who only allowed 1 goal on 19 shots. There is no confirmation yet as to who will start Game 2 for the Oilers, but I can't see how Dave Tippett can justify starting Mike Smith in this one. Much like the Penguins against the Habs, the Oilers will need to come out desperate in this game because they definitely do not want go down 2-0 after 2 'home games.' Looks for the Oilers to regroup and take Game 2 led by McDavid and mediocre goaltending.
Bodog Moneyline: Edmonton Oilers (-130) vs Chicago Blackhawks (+110)
Prediction: Edmonton Oilers (-130)
Round Robin Action
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars
These two teams are itching to get off to a good start in the round robin. Robin Lehner is expected to get the start in net for the Golden Knights while there is still question marks surrounding the starting goalie for the Stars. Ben Bishop is expected to be the starter in this game, but it is possible we will see Anton Khudobin in round robin play as well, or maybe even in this game. Also, the Golden Knights will be without one of their key players Max Pacioretty, who is yet to join the club due to an injury suffered in summer camp. Pacioretty was the Golden Knights top scorer in the 2019-20 season and will be a huge loss to the lineup. The Stars are the underdog in this game, but with the loss of Pacioretty, I believe the Stars can pull off the upset with their depth up front and their stellar defensive core. However, they will need Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to step up offensively after a forgetful 2019-20 season in terms of their scoring numbers. The extended layoff just may have been what they needed to regroup and make a run at the cup.
Bodog Moneyline: Dallas Stars (+115) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (-135)
Prediction: Dallas Stars (+115)