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NHL Predictions: March 18 including Edmonton Oilers vs Seattle ...

NHL Predictions for the afternoon slot of Saturday's Games on March 18th, including the Edmonton Oilers in Seattle take on the Kraken.

Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at the games that are happening and gives our predictions for each one, breaking down head-to-head and other factors that may play in. We also have a featured game of the day, which is considered must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Edmonton Oilers vs Seattle Kraken. Be sure to check out our other NHL Predictions for today.

NHL Predictions Colorado Avalanche vs Detroit Red Wings Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1-0 Red Wings

A once great rivalry game that has been typically quiet for the past 15 seasons, Detroit hosts Colorado for the only time this season with just two wins in their last ten games, including a 2-1 loss to Nashville in their most recent game on Tuesday. Inversely, the Avalanche are finally developing significant momentum, now riding a four-game winning streak. With the team able to roster a consistent lineup by each day (even with some lingering injuries), the Avalanche are producing at a rate much more similar to last season’s masterclass. In an even better improvement of luck, Colorado’s remaining 15 games feature just six surefire playoff teams and include multiple games against the Ducks, Sharks, and Coyotes.

Despite Detroit’s struggles, largely the result of poor and inefficient offensive creation methods, the recent play of this month’s free-agent signing for the Red Wings Alex Chiasson has been quite the welcoming sight not just in Michigan but across the entire league, with goals in three straight games and five points in his first six NHL games since the end of last season with the Canucks. With the playoffs unlikely for the Red Wings at this juncture in this season, the play of the team’s youth could provide external promise, including the call-up of defender Simon Edvinsson yesterday afternoon.

Colorado has defeated the Wings in nine straight games dating back to the 2017-2018 season; tonight, we do not expect that to change.

Prediction: 5-2 Avalanche

Boston Bruins vs Minnesota Wild Head-to-Head: Bruins 1-0 Wild

Boston and Minnesota clash for the final time this season on uniquely different stretches. The Bruins, perhaps as a simple, natural result of their historic play falling somewhat down to the mean, have lost three of their last five, but do come off a 3-0 win with Jeremy Swayman in net to collect the shutout. Meanwhile, the Wild are riding a 14-game point streak, including their 8-5 win on Wednesday over the St. Louis Blues in what may very well be one of the most chaotic games of the season entirely. Despite missing Kirill Kaprizov, the Wild have found a way to produce in three games since the injury, including recent strong performances from Ryan Hartman and recent acquisition John Klingberg.

Sadly for the Bruins, Derek Forbort sustained a lower-body injury blocking a shot in Winnipeg two nights ago. Luckily for the Bruins, Connor Clifton is expected to take his place, allowing the Bruins to maintain an elite d-core with seven (arguably eight) NHL-caliber defensemen in their system. In recent performances, the Bruins have looked rather uncoordinated in efforts to move the puck out of their zone, entirely hampering the transition ability that has enabled the complete transformation in the offensive dynamic this season aside from their second line at times. Boston has also given up a higher quantity and quality of shots against throughout these games, becoming slightly more reliant on their goaltending.

Still, the Bruins are on pace for a record-tying 62 wins, a pace definitely achievable with some form of a bonce-back (which the win against Winnipeg now provides again). Ultimately, two elite defensive teams facing off should make this quite the competitive match, but Boston is given the edge.

Prediction: 3-2 Bruins

Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators Head-to-Head: Jets 1-1 Predators

Both teams come into the afternoon directly off of frustrating losses in which they marked some notable difference in chance generation in their favour, but had difficulties converting against goaltenders with a strong night. More importantly, the playoff implications of this game may be fundamentally changed; Nashville currently resides four points behind Winnipeg for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, with three games in hand. For Nashville, tonight’s game and the April 8th match-up between these two teams may become the most important games of the Predators’ season for postseason implications. In terms of recent stellar performances, Tommy Novak has continued his quietly strong form this season, with 29 points in 35 games in his first full NHL season alongside an above-point-per-game pace in his last ten games, which has become especially important with the absence of Fillip Forsberg.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg’s struggles to consistently generate, especially outside of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Nikolai Ehlers, and Nino Niederriter to some degree, have resulted in their incredibly mediocre form as of late, at a record of 3-5-2 in their last ten. Rick Bowness and the Jets will have to overcome the average inefficiency of the team’s shooting tendencies to best overcome Nashville tonight and maintain their playoff spot with just 12 games to go.

Expect a wholly tight, congested game with a hint of playoff intensity. After all, the team that wins will likely fundamentally improve their chances of arriving at the rink past April 17th.

Prediction: 3-2 Jets (OT)

Edmonton Oilers vs Seattle Kraken Head-to-Head: Oilers 2-1 Kraken

For the afternoon slate of games, the featured game involves the potential for an incredibly high-octane match between the Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Kraken. Two elite teams on the transitional side of the puck whose productive abilities are among the top in the league; for the Oilers, powered by two of the NHL’s best and by the powerplay, while for the Kraken, a beautiful combination of shooting luck and offensive efficiency off the rush. In each of the previous three matchups, one team has scored at least five goals, with the Oilers putting up seven in December against the Kraken.  

As alluded to above, transitional play will be the definition of this game at even-strength play. Aside from both teams possessing great abilities to push the play into the offensive zone, the difference in how they defend against as such may change the direction of this game. For reference, Seattle’s denials per 60 are better than roughly 90 percent of teams in the NHL (AllThreeZones), while Edmonton’s is worse than all of roughly nine percent of teams in the NHL (AllThreeZones). Ultimately, the challenge of defending against elite players in transition (even Connor McDavid) is one the Kraken are theoretically equipped for.

Tonight could very well be one of the most electric games in the early history of the Climate Pledge Arena, considering the firepower and stakes of this game.

Prediction: 6-5 Kraken

Main photo by: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

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