The Calgary Flames hit the fourth destination on their six-game road trip. It’s gone relatively well thus far, with a couple of wins and a loss. Their latest matchup resulted in a loss against the Rangers. The Rangers snapped a skid in the process, while the Flames took their first loss on the road trip. Meanwhile, the Islanders are coming off a wild one against the Red Wings.
It was one of the craziest 3rd periods you will find in the NHL this season. Down by 3 goals, the Isles took advantage of a 5-minute major Red Wings penalty to take a 6-5 lead. The Wings came back to tie it up but gave it right back in overtime. Ask the Maple Leafs, you can’t blow a 3 goal lead in the 3rd period. Should Tyler Bertuzzi have been dealt a 5-minute penalty there? Clutterbuck may have deserved an academy award for the flop job, if anything.
For the Islanders, their modus operandi is to just try and outscore the opposition. Okay, yeah, that’s the objective for any team, but the Isles play little to no defence. The offence is left with the job while the defence gets exposed game after game. It’s like that job you worked where there’s a group of employees who do all of the world, while the others are relaxing and slacking off.
The playmakers on the Islanders are doing all of the work in this case. The 32-year-old Slovak, Jaroslav Halak, is playing on borrowed time, as his numbers have continued to slip in the 2017-18 season. He sported a 2.30 GAA in 2015-16, a 2.80 in 2016-17, and a 3.23 GAA this year. It hasn’t exactly been a slow regression for Halak, as his numbers have taken a significant dive since 2016. We’ll see if the Flames’ offence can exploit the Islanders on Sunday. Head below for our free Flames vs. Islanders pick.
Calgary Flames vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
The Flames and Islanders are in similar positions standings wise. They’re on the outside looking in, but within striking distance. The Flames are 2 points behind the Wild for the final wildcard, and the Isles are a point behind the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes you may be thinking? Yeah, this season has been the year of the surprise newcomers. If the Isles could find just a little bit of defence, they’d have a comfortable spot in the playoffs right now. As it is, though, the Isles are allowing too many goals, with 3.68 GAA for 31st in the league. The offence is keeping them afloat, as they’re averaging 3.36 goals per game, 3rd in the league. They remind me a lot like the Dallas Stars from a few years ago. They could surely score the puck, but gave it all back in their own zone. Just an average defence would be enough.
In their last ten games they’ve scored an average of 3.2 goals per game, but also allowed 3.9 per game. In other words, there hasn’t been much of a balance for the Isles. The Flames put up 5 goals on them in their last meeting, a 5-2 win back in March of last season. Their defence has only gotten worse since then. The Flames have allowed 3 goals per game in their last ten outings. They’ve scored an average of 3.4 in their last five games, with at least 3 goals in all. The OVER has gone 5-2 in their last seven games. Additionally, the OVER has gone 4-0 in the Islanders last four games. On the season, they’ve gone 36-17 to the OVER. It should be pretty clear where I’m leaning on Sunday in the NHL.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)