The NHL All-Star Game is taking place on Feb. 4, 2023, at FLA Live Arena, in Sunrise, Florida, with the skills competition set to happen the night before. Usually, the All-Star Game is considered the halfway mark of the season. 

However, with the event now in February instead of late January, teams have already played more than 41 games, and there will be a lot of storylines to follow as the season winds down. 

Recently, the players union and the league agreed that teams would get an entire week off, meaning even those players who earn the chance to play in the annual event can still enjoy some rest for the stretch run. Although every team begins and ends their break at different times, important dates are creeping up, like the trade deadline (Mar. 3) and the end of the regular season (Apr. 16). 

Let’s look at five bold predictions for the NHL with two months left on the schedule. 


Alex Ovechkin will score 50 goals for the ninth time in his career

If no one paid attention to hockey headlines this year, Alex Ovechkin scored his 800th goal on Dec. 13, 2022, to become the third player in league history to reach that mark. After surpassing “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe for second on the all-time list (801), he moved closer to Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals, which has stood since 1999. 

Every night the Washington Capitals play, Ovechkin has a chance to continue his pursuit of one of the game’s most treasured records. Heading into the break, he passed the 30-goal mark for the 17th time in his career and should reach the magical 50-goal plateau by the season’s end. Furthermore, when the “Great 8” achieves this milestone for the ninth time in his career, he will move to within 64 goals of Gretzky’s record. 


The New Jersey Devils will win the Metropolitan Division

The last time the New Jersey Devils earned a playoff spot in 2017-18, the Seattle Kraken didn’t exist, and the Vegas Golden Knights were an expansion team. After nearly two decades as a Stanley Cup contender, the franchise has only qualified for the postseason twice since 2010, and with some last-place finishes, the team has been rebuilding through the draft. Now that those prospects have matured into stars, the Devils are contending for the Metropolitan Division crown for the first time in 13 years. 

Although the Carolina Hurricanes are on a mission to repeat as divisional champions, the Devils have given them a run for their money and remain a threat to dethrone the ‘Canes. Thus far, each team has gone on lengthy win streaks, New Jersey (13) and Carolina (11); however, at the time of this writing, they remain separated by a few points. Ultimately the division title and accompanying favorable playoff spot (second seed) will come down to the wire, with this young and hungry Devils team coming out on top to earn the conference’s second seed.