Jimmy’s NHL picks record: 41-39-2
Monday, 7 p.m. ET
Free NHL Pick: Islanders ML
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Home sweet home! That’s what the New York Islanders and their fans were singing on December 1 when the Isles returned home to NYCB Live: Nassau Coliseum for the first time since April 25, 2015, and erased a 2-goal deficit to the Columbus Blue Jackets and won 3-2. The old, but renovated, barn was rocking and it will be again Monday as the Islanders host their Metro Division rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York will feed off that energy and exact revenge on the Pens for a 6-2 loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday.
New York is 7-4-2 at home but it’s no surprise that when they went back to the unfriendly confines of Barclays Center in Brooklyn, they lost 3-1 to the Winnipeg Jets. The players and fans have made it clear they don’t like playing there and one has to wonder why they can’t find a way to play every home game in Uniondale. That home advantage will be in full force for Monday’s tilt that will leave one team in third place in the Metro and one team outside of a playoff spot.
The Isles won their last game, 3-2 at Detroit, and one of the main reasons was goaltender Thomas Greiss (23 saves), who’s having a better-than-expected season between the pipes. Greiss and the Isles will have to be superb against the Penguins and specifically Sidney Crosby, who basically owns them. In that 6-2 win last Thursday, Crosby had a goal and an assist to bring his career point total against the Islanders to 113 with 36 goals and 77 assists in 65 games against New York. That is the most he has against any team and he is the only active player with 100 points against one team. So chances are, Crosby gets on the score sheet in this one and if you can get a prop bet on that, I’d highly suggest doing it, but I’d also highly suggest taking the Isles to win because there truly is a real home advantage when they play at the Coliseum. That, combined with Pittsburgh seemingly stuck in quicksand this season, will help the Islanders maintain the third slot in the Metro.
The Islanders are 14-14 against the spread and 7-6 at home. New York has scored 82 goals and allowed 83. They’re 11-15-2 on the over/under and 5-8-0 at home. The Isles are 15-13 on the puck line and 8-5 at home. Josh Bailey leads the Islanders in points with 23. Anders Lee has the most goals with 11, and Mathew Barzal has the most assists with 19. Lee took a vicious hit from Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall and his status for Monday’s game was undetermined.
The Penguins are 12-16 against the spread and 5-8 on the road. Pittsburgh has scored 96 goals and allowed 91. They’re 12-12-4 on the over/under and 6-6-1 on the road. The Pens are 11-17 on the puck line and 5-8 on the road. Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel are tied for the team lead in goals with 12 apiece. Kessel is tied for the team lead in points with Evgeni Malkin as they both have 33. Malkin leads the team in assists with 23. Crosby has 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points.
For the Penguins, Casey DeSmith is 8-4-0-3 with a 2.46 GAA and .923 save percentage. Tristan Jarry is 0-1-0-1 with a 3.50 GAA and .887 save percentage.
For the Islanders, Greiss is 10-6-0-1 with a 2.58 GAA and .918 save percentage. Robin Lehner is 4-5-0-2 with a 2.79 GAA and .913 save percentage.
For the Penguins, goalie Matt Murray is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Forward Matt Cullen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Forward Patric Hornqvist is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Justin Schultz is out indefinitely with a leg injury.
For the Islanders, forward Tom Kuhnhackl is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Forward Andrew Ladd is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
Prediction: Islanders 4, Penguins 2