NHL Game Preview and Pick- Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders
The Pittsburgh Penguins will try and extend their current winning streak to 11 games when they face the Atlantic Division rival New York Islanders this Friday night at Nassau Coliseum. The puck is set to drop at 4 p.m. (PT) and the game will be broadcast nationally on the NHL Network.
The Penguins made it 10 in a row with a 2-1 victory over Washington this past Tuesday as a prohibitive 214 home favorite. During this impressive run, they have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 40-23. Overall, Pittsburgh is now 23-8 on the year and sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. The amazing thing about this record is an 11-4 mark at home and a 12-4 record on the road. The total has stayed UNDER in its last five games.
Pittsburgh has a respectable 2.6 goals-against-average this season, but much of its success has come as a result of an offensive effort that has the team leading the league in scoring with an amazing 3.5 goals a game. Front and center in this scoring barrage is Sidney Crosby with 50 points (13 goals and 37 assists) which is 10 points more than the next highest total in the league which just so happens to belong to teammate Chris Kunitz (18 goals and 22 assists).
Fatigue could be a factor for the Islanders tonight after enduring a 5-2 beating at the hands of Montreal on Thursday night as 119 home underdogs. The game remained close until a three goal barrage in the third period sent New York to its 14th loss in its first 30 games. Overall, it is now three points out the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with 29 points.
The Islanders were not only picked to finish last in the Atlantic Division but last in the conference as well. Behind an offense that is averaging 2.9 goals a game they have been able to exceed everyone’s expectations so far. The biggest problem they face in this matchup is trying to stop Pittsburgh with a defense that is allowing an average of 3.4 goals a game, which is ranked next to last in the league.
Penguins vs. Islanders Betting Lines and Trends
BetOnline has listed Pittsburgh as a 147 road favorite on the opening NHL odds line with the Islanders listed as 136 home underdogs. The total has been set at 6.
The Penguins are 4-0 in their last four road games and 45-15 in their last 60 games against a team with a losing record. The total has gone OVER in five of their last seven games on the road.
The Islanders are 19-50 in their last 69 games playing on zero days’ rest and 4-11 in their last 15 home games. The total has gone OVER in five of their last six games played on a Friday.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Pittsburgh has won four of the last five meetings in New York and the total has gone OVER in five of the last six games played there. The Penguins have a 2-1 edge in this season’s series; outscoring the Islanders 10-3 in the last two games with the total going OVER in both.
Penguins vs. Islanders
The obvious play in this game is on the Penguins as it is hard to see the Islanders keeping them from lighting the lamp all night long. To take full advantage of such a mismatch, the free NHL pick in this game is Pittsburgh -1.5 on the puck line at +190 parlayed with the OVER.
Free NHL Pick: Pittsburgh 5 - New York 3 (lines provided by BetOnline)
Year-to-Date NHL Record: 19-10-2