Free NHL Picks: Grab Dominating Penguins Against Islanders

Dana Lane

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 2:22 PM GMT

The Penguins are in a secure spot to make the playoffs but their focus is catching the Islanders for the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. See my NHL pick here. 

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. N.Y. Islanders
The Penguins have to be feeling great about themselves again after a couple of lopsided victories. However, the Islanders are in a better position to make a long run at the Cup. With a win the Pens will certainly send a message to the rest of the league. 

This is a must win for Pittsburgh because a loss would put them five points behind the Islanders with New York enjoying two games in hand.  

My concern is how the Islanders have been playing defensively allowing 12 goals in their last four games.  Troublesome because the Penguins have scored four or more goals six times in their last 10 games, winning by three or more goals five times in that span. 

In their 6-1 victory over New Jersey they were especially impressive defensively in front of back-up goaltender, Matt Murray, who faced only 18 shots as Pittsburgh won for the fourth time in six games.

The top two defensive pairings have played extremely well led by Kris Letang who has 34 points in his last 28 games. Letang's flexibility to pinch or skate as a fourth forward makes him their most valuable asset.   

Pittsburgh is getting contributions through out the line-up. Nick Bonino is a fourth line center who has put up two points in his last two games and is a +5 in 46 games. Pretty much all you can ask from your depth guys. His linemates, rookie Tom Kuhnhackl and Bryan Rust with Bonino have a streak of 2 goals and four assist. 

Of course, the big two are on fire. Evgeni Malkin has four goals and three assist in his last five games while Sidney Crosby has three goals and six assist in his last five.  Malkin has feasted on the Islanders with four goals and 10 assist in his last 9 in the series while Crosby has four goals, two assist, in his last three meetings. 

Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to be in goal for Pittsburgh. Fleury has a 27-15-6 record with a 2.35 GAA and  

Perhaps a little concern for the Islanders, John Tavares who hasn't scored a goal in his last five games and had only two shots Monday night against Pittsburgh. 

Betting Analysis
There a few cracks in the normally reliable penalty kill for New York as they have allowed a power play goal in each of their last three games. 

So the Islanders had a six goal outburst against the Rangers and should be feeling pretty good about themselves. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is not a team that teams have had luck building off of their offensive performance. In their last 33 game against teams that have scored five goals or more, the Penguins have a sensational 24-9 record. 

Pittsburgh has completed dominated this series with 36-16 record against New York in their last 52 meetings. They have also beaten the Islanders 9 of the last 13 games in New York. The NHL odds boards have opened the Pitts up +105 at 5Dimes too, making this a compelling NHL pick to back. We back the Penguins to further their grip on their playoff position. @DanaLaneSports

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Free NHL Pick: Pittsburg +105
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle