NHL Picks: Islanders vs. Penguins Game 5

David Schwab

Thursday, May 9, 2013 12:56 PM GMT

The New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins head back to the Consol Energy Center this Wednesday night for Game 5 of their opening round playoff series tied at two games apiece.


YTD NHL Free Picks Record: 35-20-2

The puck is set to drop at 4 p.m. (PT) and the game will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network. Let's have a look at the betting odds that have been lined out for this one.

Islanders Overview

This series was only supposed to last four games but somebody forgot to tell that to the No.8 seed Islanders. After losing Game 1 according to script by getting blasted 5-0 as 191 road underdogs, they rebounded with a stunning 4-3 victory in Game 2 as 206 underdogs. New York’s most impressive win in this series came this past Tuesday night as a 137 underdog at home with a 6-4 victory fueled by three third-period goals. The total has now gone OVER in the last three games.

Coming into this series if the Penguins had one weakness it was on defense. So far the Islanders have done a great job of exploiting this with 14 goals in the last three games after getting blanked in the opener. John Tavares led the team in scoring in the regular season and has tallied two goals in this series, but defenseman Mark Streit has put on a show with two goals and three assists. Kyle Okposo has also come up big with three goals and an assist. Evgeni Nabokov has a goals-against-average of 4.56 and a .846 save percentage in this series, but continues to come up with the big saves when needed the most.

Penguins Overview

Even the return of Sidney Crosby to the lineup has not been enough for Pittsburgh to take control of this series. He has already scored two goals while chipping-in four assists, but that does little to address the Penguins’ woes on the other end of the ice. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been shelled so far; facing an average of 32 shots a game. This past Tuesday night he gave-up three unanswered goals in the third period on just seven shots to turn a one-goal lead into a series-tying two goal loss.

If the Penguins are going to regain the edge in this series with a win on Thursday night they are going to have to simply outscore New York given that they have already proved they do not know how to stop them. Pittsburgh has plenty of firepower to win games this way with sharpshooters like Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin, who have already combined for eight goals in the first four games.

Let's hop on over to Chicago to check out what is going on with the Blackhawks vs. the Wild!

Islanders vs. Penguins Betting Lines and Trends

New York has been opened as a 186 road underdog on BetOnline’s money line with the Penguins listed as prohibitive 205 home favorites. The total for this matchup has been set at 6.

The Islanders are 1-4 in their last five road games but 5-2 in their last seven games against teams with a winning record. The total has gone OVER in seven of their last 10 games.

The Penguins are 8-1 in their last nine home games against a team with a winning record on the road and 9-4 in their last 13 games against a divisional opponent. The total has gone OVER in four of their last five games at home.

Head-to-head in this matchup, New York is 5-22 in its last 27 games in Pittsburgh and the total has gone OVER in eight of the last 12 games overall.

[gameodds]7/228295/43-999997/us[/gameodds]

Islanders vs. Penguins Free NHL Pick

This series has turned into an offensive shootout and that should not change in Game 5. Both teams have the ability to take advantage of some poor play in goal, but the clear edge in that department still goes to Pittsburgh, especially on its home ice. The free NHL pick in this game is Pittsburgh in a parlay with the OVER.

Pittsburgh 5 - New York 3 (lines provided by Bet365)