The New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins both started the year very well but both have been laboring down the stretch of the season. Who’ll win Friday’s matchup and cash on the NHL betting lines as both teams aim to get back on track?
The New York Islanders Can Win Because…
The Penguins are in shambles right now, and are short favorites on the NHL betting odds. Remember, Pittsburgh was a team that cleaned house last offseason, firing their head coach and General Manager because they were only capable of getting them to the playoffs and no further. Well, it turns out that the current coach-GM tandem might not even get them to the playoffs.
The Pens have been an unmitigated disaster down the stretch of the season as they’ll enter Friday’s action on a four-game losing streak. But that’s just part of a bigger slump as the Penguins have actually lost 10 of 13. At one point, they were in the running to win the division and have home-ice advantage for at least a round or two in the playoffs. Now they enter Friday with a serious chance of missing them completely.
The main issue for Pittsburgh is that they just can manufacture enough offense. They have averaged just 2.29 goals per game since the All-Star break, which ranks them 25th. They’ve been even worse of late, averaging just 1.76 over their last 13 affairs.
At this point, why would you even have faith in Pittsburgh? They’ve lost seven of their last eight games and are a sinking ship. Take the Isles with your NHL picks.
The Pittsburgh Penguins Can Win Because…
The Isles have been brutal of late too. The Islanders are coming off an embarrassing 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers but losing games has been an all too common practice for the Islanders down the stretch of the season. They’ve lost nine of their last 12 games and are having a really tough time figuring out what’s wrong. Their offense has tapered off as they scored just 2.31 goals per game in March (22nd in the NHL). As for their goaltending, Jaroslav hasn’t been consistent for over a month now. After starting the year with 31 wins in his first 42 starts, he now has just six wins in his last 15.
With both teams struggling, you might want to look at home-ice advantage for the edge. The Pens are 23-17 at home compared to 19-21 on the road. That could be a key difference in a struggle of two teams desperately searching for their confidence right now.
Both teams have been completely miserable and both have equally dropped 12 of 18 against teams with a winning record. This is such a crappy game but there are just two games on the ice on Friday and this is the better of the two. I’ll take a flier with the Isles for two reasons: they’re the dog here, so the price is right, and they have won three straight in this series. Take them with your NHL picks and hope for that momentum to continue.
NHL Pick: Islanders +113 at BetOnline