NHL Picks: Islanders' Lack Of Passion Will Still Overcome Senators' Soft Defense

Dana Lane

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 3:13 PM GMT

The Islanders, who have been a mediocre team their last 10 games, try to catch the Penguins in the MD through a match vs. Senators. Despite their lack of motivation, Islanders are our NHL pick.

Islanders Preview
Not too long ago the New York Islanders (36-24-9 81 pts) were always in the discussion as a dark horse to win the Stanley Cup. Since their 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, March 8 th, New York is just 1-4-2 and instead of being in the discussion for the Stanley Cup they could find themselves on the outside of the playoffs. We'll find out allot about the Islanders tonight when they face the Ottawa Senators (34-32-8 72 pts) a team they should handle. I've moved the Islanders out of my power ratings and NHL odds top ten, but with Ottawa currently ranked 19th, the Islanders should be able to use the Sens to catapult them back into contention. No matter how far the Islanders have fallen they are definitively better than Ottawa. Ottawa is too soft defensively to back with my money. If you are still not sure abour what I am saying, check the odds; the lines speak for themselves.

 

Senators Sneak Peek
Let's start with Ottawa goaltender, Craig Anderson (29-23-4, 2.80 GAA, .915 SV%). Last night, against Washington, he allowed three goals on only 21 shots in the Sens 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. The numbers are mediocre but he was actually very good in the second and third periods but it was the first when Anderson gave up three goals on eight shots. They were not all his fault however. Washington's Mike Richards first goal of the game came from a complete defensive breakdown when Marc Methot and Erik Karlsson vacated their area in front of the net. We know how good Karlsson is offensively but this is an example of why people have a hard time with his name being involved in the Norris discussion. They were both too occupied with chasing the forwards out of the zone. Jean-Francois Berube get the start for New York. 

Tuesday, Ottawa Senators Owner, Eugene Melnyk, held a press conference where he said that nobody's job is safe. It appeared that his words cast a dark cloud over his team who looked less than focused at the start last night. We do know that Melnyk is dealing with medical issues and legal battles surrounding his need for a liver transplant but unfortunately when you go to the media to address your concerns you can't expect to have a focused hockey team.

The third goal was another example of bad decision making. RW Marc Stone's attempt to pinch on Alexander Kuznetsov failed after he lost an edge which created 3-2 advantage. I know he was trying to make a play to keep the puck in the zone but against Washington you have to be smarter. Granted he didn't anticipate slipping but it would have been safer to skate back to square Kuznetsov up before attempting to stop momentum. After the third goal, Head Coach Dave Cameron, called timeout and the Senators responded with a better effort the rest of the way.

 

Final Overview
No one on the Islanders has stepped up to lead recently, but I'm not going to back Ottawa until I see the Melnyk aftermath pass and his team makes better defensive decisions. For this reason, The New York Islanders are my NHL pick of the game.

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Free NHL Pick: Islanders -175
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes