The New York Islanders are looking to keep their head above water in the wildcard hunt, while the Coyotes are trying to avoid sinking to the bottom of the ocean. The Isles go into Arizona with a record of 24-20-3. With just four wins in their last ten games, they’ve been set back a bit in the standings. They are sitting behind the Penguins and Rangers for final wildcard spot. It isn’t going to be easy down the stretch in the second-half of the season.
The Penguins and Rangers are a couple of teams who got off to slow starts, but could hit the gas pedal at any moment. The Islanders on the other hand have just about hit their sweet spot. I don’t see much room for upward movement from them. They may a little bit, but it’s going to require more than that, because other teams are going to get hot in the second-half. Can we trust the Islanders to be one of those teams? Probably not, and I will tell you why below.
If you follow hockey, it’s an easy explanation for why they should run into issues. We need the Islanders to show that they can play an ounce of defence. Otherwise, there’s going to be no chance of them hanging around come spring time. Fundamentals come into play more than ever then, as teams start to buckle down and focus a little more. Unless there is some intervention of sorts for the Islanders’ defence, I do not see them surviving against others. Nevertheless, they have an offence that can hang with anyone. So, if they could get just a little defence, they’d be much better off. The Coyotes hope to get their third win in their last ten games. It’s been that kind of year for them. Get our free Islanders vs. Coyotes pick below.
N.Y. Islanders vs. Arizona Coyotes Pick
The Coyotes need to go back to the drawing board and look to the future. Mainly, start taking a look at the draft and trying to build a foundation. Clayton Keller leads the team with 14 goals and 22 assists. Following Keller is Christian Fischer with 13 goals and 8 assists. Keller is only a 19-year-old and Fischer is 20, so they are starting to have something to build from. Right now, though, when a 20 and 19-year-old are your best assets, it’s going to spell trouble for the present. The Yotes hold a record of 11-28-5 which ranks dead last in the NHL. They also rank 30th in goals scored per game, as they’re notching just 2.35 per game. Likewise, they’ve been bad on defence as well, with 3.42 goals allowed per game for 28th in the league.
The Coyotes are in fact better than the Isles on defence, though. The Islanders are last in the league with 3.65 goals allowed per game. However, their offence can light it up on any given night. They’re averaging 3.44 goals per game, 2nd in the NHL. If they could get their defence figured out, all would be well for the Islanders. The Isles have allowed a whopping 4.3 goals per game in their last ten contests, while scoring 3.2 per game. Meanwhile, the Coyotes have allowed 3.2 goals per in their last ten and scored 2.9. The Coyotes may not have a top-notch offence, but they should be able to find some room to work against the Islanders tonight. We haven’t seen 6.5 totals too often in recent memory. Maybe 5 or so years ago 6 and 6.5’s were out there more. I think the high total is justified in this spot. A final score of 4-3 or 5-3 looks reasonable in the desert tonight, so a play on the OVER looks solid.
PICK: OVER 6.5 (+105)