Free NHL Picks: Islander's Defense Will Lead Them to Victory Against Bruins

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, November 8, 2015 6:15 PM GMT

The Bruins face off against the Islanders in New York as both teams are coming off losses to the Canadiens and will look to rebound tonight. Let's see what the NHL odds makers say about this clash.

Boston Bruins (6-7 SU, -1.0 units)
The Bruins drew first blood against the Montreal Canadiens last night as their power play unit continued its exemplary play with a goal off the stick of Loui Eriksson only 1:50 into the first period. The game was tied until late in the third period when the Canadiens connected on a man-advantage situation of their own that broke through backup goalie Jonas Gustavvson and put Boston behind with only 68 seconds left in the contest. Montreal would add an empty netter and the Bruins fell victim to yet another defeat at the hands of their storied rivals.

This will be the third and final leg of Boston's road swing. The B's have lost three in a row beginning with a loss to Dallas at home and then road defeats to Washington and Montreal last night. The club boasts the league's top power play unit clicking on over 33 percent of their chances and has the 3rd ranked scoring offense averaging 3.5 goals per game. But it has been their lack of defense and clutch goaltending that has surprised many in light of the fact that Bruins' teams are normally built from the goaltender out with a focus on bruising play and tight defense. That has not been the case this season as the team ranks 28th in goals against and dead last on the penalty killing unit.

 

New York Islanders (7-7 SU, -3.0 units)
The Islanders have dropped four of their last five contests including a 4-1 defeat to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Captain John Tavares is back in the fold after an illness that sidelined him for three games. He returned Thursday night but his presence made no difference as he did not contribute to the scorer's sheet in their loss to the Habs.

New York sits in the middle of the Metropolitan division with 17 points on the season but they are scoring at a decent pace averaging 2.8 goals per game which places them 9th while their goals allowed ranks them 11th in the league averaging 2.4 per game. Their power play unit has been among the best ranking 4th as they are connecting on 25 percent of their opportunities. Their penalty killing unit is ranked 2nd in the NHL with kills on 89.1 percent of their disadvantaged situations. Much of that defensive success lies with the goaltending tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss. Both netminders have done an excellent job in a platoon role for the Isles. Reports are that Halak will be manning the crease tonight but his status is officially unconfirmed as of this writing.

 

NHL Pick

The NHL Odds makers are hanging this one at anywhere from New York favored by -160 to -175 depending upon where you shop. That is in direct conflict with the Bruins 3-1 record against the Islanders when playing in New York over their last four meetings including a 5-3 victory earlier this season. But the lines makers are not dummies and there is a reason why the Islanders are a heavy favorite tonight.

The bottom line is that this Bruins team is having a tremendous amount of difficulty playing disciplined hockey which means not taking a stupid penalty late in a critical game against a divisional opponent like they did last night in Montreal that cost them the game. They are also not playing tight defensively and their goaltending has been serviceable at best. Not the hallmarks of the Bruins teams we have seen in the past.

I am including the Islanders in my NHL Picks because they have comparable offensive firepower as the Bruins but are better defensively and in net. They are also better rested than Boston who played just last night.

NHL Picks: Play the Islanders -160 at 5Dimes

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