The two lowest scoring teams in the NHL went and combined for 7 goals on Saturday night in a 4-3 Sabres win. Don’t look now but the Sabres are quickly approaching the .500 mark after one of the worst starts in NHL history this season. They won’t be making the playoffs this season, and probably won’t next season, but I think in three years we should start to take them seriously again. It wasn’t all that long ago that Buffalo was one of the better teams in the eastern conference, with expectations that they would go deep in the playoffs. Those days are long gone, and it is all about focusing on the future in Buffalo. It was an entertaining game I suppose, we can give it that, but it certainly didn’t feel good to have a loss in a game that made no sense to be so high scoring. I need to turn it up like we were not that long ago and get some extra Christmas cash which is fast approaching. A pretty small card for us to handicap, but let’s hopefully turn it into big profits.
Tonight we’ll take a look at the Devils and Islanders, in a game featuring two teams that aren’t geographically all that far from one another. On the ice, though, these are teams trending in opposite directions. The Isles continue to impress, as they head into this matchup with a record of 20-10-0-0, in the opposite side we have a Devils team that is looking to rebound from the Martin Brodeur era after the team enjoyed considerably good success with him around. The Islanders will look to play spoiler this season, as I don’t think too many people are giving them a shot at doing damage later in the year. I don’t see them tailing off in the regular season, but I believe inexperience will get to them in the playoffs. That is a ways away, and I just want to make some money tonight, so lets get at it.
New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders
Steven Stamkos this, Sidney Crosby that. And then there is John Tavares thinking what about me? Okay, Tavares isn’t on their level, but there are some nights where he makes it look like he is there. He is definitely one of the best players the NHL has to offer on offense, and he has propelled the Islanders to relevance. The franchise had big hopes for Tavares when they drafted him in 2009, and they’re finally seeing their patience pay off this season. They have a ways to go before they are competing for a Cup, but this is a good young talented team. They were scoring goals earlier in the year at a rapid rate. Now things have stabilized and they are a much more rounded team. They were scoring, but they were getting lit up on defense as well. Once last in the league, the Isles brought their goals against down to 2.90. It is quite the transition for a team that was getting lit up light like a Christmas tree on defense. The Islanders have been particularly good at home this season, posting a record of 11-3, 9-1 in their last ten.
Losers of 8 out of their last 10 games, the Devils are in free fall mode. In their last three games they’ve allowed a combined 11 goals. And this is a team that isn’t scoring many goals, 2.29 per game, so it is a recipe for disaster. In their past 10 games they’ve only eclipsed the three goal mark twice. They’ve also lost three straight against the Islanders. You may play the ML if you want if you feel more comfortable, but I am going to get a little greedy and try and catch the Islanders at +156 to win by more than a goal tonight at home.
Pick – ISLANDERS -1.5 (+156) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)