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Islanders vs. Coyotes Pick – NHL December 19th

The N.Y. Islanders and Arizona Coyotes tangle in the desert tonight, as the Coyotes continue on with life without Mike Smith in net. The Coyotes have suffered on defense all season long and without Mike Smith it seems to be a death sentence for them. Smith is going to be able to return in ten weeks, so if Anders Lindback struggles look for a trade in Arizona to try and get a serviceable netminder in there. It isn’t like Smith was doing spectacularly with a 3.06 GAA, but the holes in the defense allow for a firing squad on their net. You can only hold up for so long before the floodgates open. Now with no Smith, I am afraid how they are going to hold up in their own zone. If you’re a Coyotes fan, if there are any out there, you want to forget about Lindback’s first start as the fulltime starter against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fulltime may not last very long for Lindback if he gets lit up some more. He allowed 7 goals against the Blue Jackets in a 7-5 loss.

The Blue Jackets don’t even have a good offense and the Yotes were lost against them. Now they face the Islanders tonight at home. Lindback is going to have to somehow find a way to get on track. This is big for him, it may be the end of his chances if he cannot manage to catch fire. I think getting hot and catching fire is his only hope to stay around at the NHL level beyond this season. And it isn’t like the Coyotes are a completely inept team that is out of the playoff picture. They are 14-15-2, while a lot would still have to go right, losing their starting goalie is going to stick a knife right through them. Kind of like how you can cut through their defense like a knife cutting through butter. But it wasn’t long ago that the Yotes were in a much better position. Note that they went 1-7 in their last eight games. The Isles are coming off two losses in a row, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Panthers and 2-1 to the Avalanche. We’ll see if the Coyotes can make for a bounce back team tonight.

N.Y. Islanders vs. Arizona Coyotes NHL Pick

Like I said, the Coyotes already had their issues even with the starting goaltender in net. I really want to see how bad they are with a marginal goalie at best between the pipes. The Coyotes are 2nd last in the NHL in goals against, allowing 3.29 goals per game. That number is bound to get worse without Mike Smith active. Note that in their last eight games they have allowed 4.6 goals on average per game. In six of those seven games the Yotes allowed a staggering 4 or more goals. In five of seven they allowed 5 or greater. Calgary Flames, you’re time as the worst defense statistically may come to an end rather soon.

The Coyotes, though, have averaged a competitive 2.77 goals per game, which puts them 9th in the NHL in total goals. The Isles enter in 12th with 2.67 goals scored. This has been an OVER series between these two teams. Note that in their last ten games the OVER has gone 8-2. I suspect a big offensive showing from the Islanders after being held down the past two games. Goals should be aplenty tonight between the Isles and Coyotes.

PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)