My mini cold stretch expanded to three days on Wednesday in my only free NHL pick.
I took what should have been a desperate Canadiens team against a weak Blackhawks team playing their second game in as many nights, but the Habs just failed to show up.
The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead after one period, and while the Canadiens made it 2-1 early in the second, the Blackhawks would score the next two goals of the game and cruised to a 4-1 win, their second in as many nights.
What a disappointing effort that was for Montreal and I apologize for my Carey Price comments as he did not start that one in the first of back-to-back games for Montreal.
After two wins in a row, I thought the Canadiens would have carried some momentum forward, but the effort was terrible and the offense continued to struggle and the truth is the pick stood zero chance.
Nonetheless, I’ll take the loss and head into tonight’s massive 13-game slate eager to get back on the right track!
Season Record: 77-66-1
Now let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Rangers vs. Islanders, this time from Long Island!
Rangers vs. Islanders Betting Odds
- Rangers (+135)
- Islanders (-149)
- Rangers +1.5 (-180)
- Islanders -1.5 (+160)
- Over 6 (-110)
- Under 6 (+100)
Rangers vs. Islanders NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
For the second time in four nights, the Rangers and Islanders get together after the Rangers dealt their rival a 6-2 loss on Broadway Monday night.
Now, the Rangers have won three of their last four games after dropping three in a row as they look to stay within reach of the Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference.
For this club, offense hasn’t been a problem.
The Rangers enter this one ranked 11th with 3.09 goals per game on the road this season where their power play checks in at 19th with a 17.4% clip.
The problems, and the reason why they’ve gone just 9-11-2 on the road, has been on the back end as well as possession.
The Rangers sit in a three-way tie for 22nd with 3.50 goals against per game on the road this season where their penalty kill ranks 23rd with a 77.4% mark.
As I’ve noted many times in my Rangers-related picks this season, their possession numbers at terrible, wherever they play.
It starts with ranking 30th with 34.8 shots against per game on the road this season and their 30th-ranked -5.8 average shot differential, but the advanced metrics are also quite unfavorable of their work this season.
At 5v5 on the road, the Rangers rank dead last with a 45.35% Corsi For%, dead last with a 43.08% Scoring Chances For% and 28th with a 43.14% High-Danger Chances For%.
Their offense, boosted by a seventh-ranked 9.55% 5v5 road shooting percentage has bailed them out away from home this season, but offense has been tough to come by for opponents on Long Island this season.
Getting the nod in goal tonight for the road side will be youngster Alexandar Georgiev who earned the win on Monday at home and has been good in his career against the Islanders.
Georgiev will enter this one sporting a 3.11 GAA and .911 SV% on the season to go along with an 11-9-1 record. On the road, he’s posted a 3.01 GAA and .919 Sv% to go along with an 8-4-0 record.
He turned aside 32 of 34 shots (.941 Sv%) on Monday in the win and he’s posted an eye-popping 1.21 GAA and .957 Sv% in four starts – but three wins – against the Islanders in his young career to this point.
The Islanders were upset in New York on Monday, but went back home Tuesday and dismantled the lowly Red Wings by an 8-2 score to get their offense back in gear.
It’s an offense that’s simply much better at home.
They score just 2.50 goals per game on the road this season, but the Islanders enter this one ranked 16th with 3.22 goals per game on home ice where their power play sits tied for 19th with a 20% mark.
The eight-goal outburst was much-needed for an Islanders team that had been struggling on offense wherever they were playing.
Prior to posting that eight-spot on Tuesday, the Islanders scored just 10 goals over their previous seven games and scored one or fewer in three of those seven contests.
They’ll look to keep the offense in gear, but their defense is going to be the one who takes them as far as they go.
The Islanders enter this one ranked seventh with just 2.57 goals against per game at home this season.
Over their last four games at home, the Isles have allowed just seven combined goals.
For a team that sits third in the Metropolitan Division and fourth in the entire Eastern Conference, their advanced metrics are rather puzzling as the eye-test shows plenty of structure in their game.
At 5v5 at home, the Islanders rank 30th with a 46.13% Corsi For%, 26th with a 48.58% Scoring Chances For%, but also 12th with a 54.30% High-Danger Chances For%. In other words, for the most part, they keep teams to the outside shot attempts (Corsi) and don’t allow much inside (High-Danger).
Also helping is their fourth-ranked .933 Sv% at home at 5v5 play and their 11th-ranked .873 Sv% in terms of high-danger Sv%.
Looking to keep those numbers intact tonight will be Semyon Varlamov after Thomas Greiss earned the win over the Red Wings on Tuesday.
Varlamov didn’t have a good night in New York on Monday, allowing six goals on 35 shots (.829 SV%) which snapped a six-game hot stretch that included a shutout at home.
He’ll bring a 2.48 GAA and .919 Sv% into action tonight with a 15-6-4 record on the season while he’s gone 7-3-3 at home with a 2.74 GAA and .913 Sv%.
Over his last three starts at home, he’s posted a .948 Sv% with a shutout, but that marked his only win in that time thanks to a lack of goal support.
The Rangers have already dealt the Islanders one upset loss this week as slight +105 underdogs at home on Monday, but I’m not going to let that one deter me.
The Islanders were in need of an offensive outburst and they got just that despite facing the NHL’s worst defense on Tuesday.
While their offense had scuffled, even at home, their home defense remains among the best in the business and I think they’ll get back to doing that in this one.
I have gone back and forth about whether I want the 15-5-3 home Islanders on the moneyline or in regulation, but I think we’re getting reasonable moneyline odds here.
As a result, give me the Islanders straight up to gain some revenge on their rival in the rematch tonight.