Jimmy’s NHL picks record: 43-48-2
Monday, 9 p.m. ET
Free NHL Pick: Avalanche PL
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Mikko Rantanen may not be a household name across the hockey world just yet, but the Colorado Avalanche winger and early Hart Trophy candidate is known well in Denver and at the Pepsi Center where the Avs will host the New York Islanders on Monday night. Rantanen is riding a 14-game point streak, with 8 goals and 18 assists during that span. His linemates are also racking up the points as Nathan MacKinnon is on a 5-game point streak with 2 goals and five assists, and Gabriel Landeskog had two goals in Colorado’s 6-4 win over Dallas on Saturday. That top line has a combined 57 goals and 91 assists for the Avalanche and, as they have for so many teams this season, will prove to be too much for the visiting Islanders.
The Islanders as a team have scored only 34 more goals than Colorado’s top line. New York depends on their surprisingly solid goaltending from Thomas Greiss and scrappy effort every night and takes the scoring from wherever they can. For much of the season, the Isles have bounced in and out of playoff contention, failing to gain any consistent traction. The main reason is that while they do have some young talent such as Mathew Barzal, who had a goal and an assist plus the shootout winner in a 4-3 win against Detroit on Saturday, there are no game-changers night in and night out like there is in Colorado with the Rantanen-MacKinnon-Landeskog line. The Isles could also use some more offense from their blue line.
With all that in mind, the Avalanche should continue their rise up the Central Division and Western Conference standings and beat this lesser Islanders team convincingly. Take the Avs puck line in this game for some added value.
The Avalanche are 18-15 against the spread and 7-6 at home. Colorado has scored 12 goals and allowed 102. They’re 19-14-0 on the over/under and 13-7-0 at the Pepsi Center. The Avs are 19-14 on the puck line and 7-6 at home. Rantanen leads the team in assists with 41 and in points with 56. Landeskog and MacKinnon have the most goals with 21 each.
The Isles are 15-16 against the spread and 7-8 on the road. New York has scored 89 goals and allowed 91. They’re 12-17-2 on the over/under and 6-7-2 on the road. The Islanders are 17-14 on the puck line and 7-8 on the road. Barzal leads the team in assists with 23 and points with 27. Anders Lee leads the team in goals with 11.
For the Isles, Greiss is 11-6-0-1 with a 2.59 GAA and .916 save percentage. Backup Robin Lehner is 4-6-0-3 with a 2.66 GAA and .912 save percentage.
For the Avalanche, Semyon Varlamov is 11-7-0-3 with 2.77 GAA and .915 save percentage. Philipp Grubauer is 7-2-0-3 with a 3.22 GAA and .897 save percentage.
For the Islanders, Tom Kuhnhackl is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, and Andrew Ladd is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
For the Avalanche, Vladislav Kamenev is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Mark Barberio is day-to-day with a upper-body injury, and Conor Timmins is day to-day with a head injury.
Final score prediction: Avalanche 4, Islanders 1