New York Islanders (6-11) @ Montreal Canadians (8-9)
According to NHL betting odds the Canadians are a -195 money line home favorite and the total is 5.5. These two clubs have seen just 1 of their last 9 meetings stay under the total. The Canadians are 15-7 in their last 22 at home versus the Islanders. However, the visiting team has won 4 of the last 5-games in this series.
Struggles on the Island
The Islanders franchise looked to be on the rise after qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a season ago, and then proceeding to give the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins all they can handle before bowing out in 6-games of The Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Unfortunately this season has seen the Islanders get off to a very disappointing start. After winning 2 of their first 3-games of the year, they’ve dropped 10 of the last 14. Tonight will be the final game of a 4-game road trip in which they’ve lost the first 3 by a combined score of 12-4. The last of those losses came yesterday in Columbus as they were dominated 5-2 by the Blue Jackets.
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Evaluating the Personnel
The addition of Thomas Vanek who came over in a trade for Islander stalwart Matt Moulson has exactly paid dividends of yet. The two time 40-goal scorer has just a goal and 2 assists in 6-games with his new team. It’s quite evident at this point that the play of 38-year old veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is in in rapid decline. In 13 starts this season Nabokov has a lofty 3.24 GAA and a below average .894 save percentage. On a more positive note, the trio of Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and John Tavares have played at a very high level. Each of those players is averaging better than a point a game to start the season.
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Inside the Islanders Numbers
- The Islanders are a dismal 21-55 in their last 76-games when playing with no rest.
- The Islanders are a horrible 13-41 in their last 54-games following a loss by 3-goals or more.
- The Islanders are 2-12 in their last 14-games versus an opponent with a losing record on the money line.
- The Islanders have gone over the total in 12 of their last 17-games versus an Eastern Conference opponent.
Reeling in the Cathedral of Hockey
Montreal enters tonight losers of 4 in a row. After starting the season 5-2 the Canadians have now dropped 7 of their last 10-games. They last played on Thursday night and fell 4-1 at Ottawa. The Habs are suffering through a scoring drought which has seen them score 2-goals or less in 6 of their last 7-games. On a positive note their special teams have performed very well. The power play is 3rd in the NHL converting on 23.4% of their chances, and their penalty killing is 4th in the league killing off 87.3% of their opponents man advantages. You also can’t fault the goaltending tandem of Carey Price and Peter Budaj who have both been superb. Price has a .930 save percentage in 14 starts, and his backup Peter Budaj has an excellent 1.34 GAA in addition to a .953 save percentage in 3 starts.
Inside the Canadians Numbers
- The Canadians are 0-6 in their last 6-games following a loss by 3-goals or more.
- The Canadians have gone over the total in just 3 of their last 16-games overall.
- The Canadians have gone over the total in just 15 of their last 55-games versus an opponent with a money line winning percentage of less than .400.
NHL Super System
- Any money line underdog that’s coming off 2 or more road losses in a row, versus a division opponent that comes off a road loss is 24-10 (70.6%) since the beginning of the 2009-2010 season.
Free Pick: Islanders +175 over the Canadians