The New York Islanders continue their tour of the west coast in California with a final game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Islanders are also on a back-to-back after last nights date with the LA Kings. As I write this the Kings are up on the Islanders by a score of 2-1. If that score holds the Isles will go to 1-1 on this road trip. They beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2 a few evenings ago and are in a tight battle with the Sharks at the moment. The Kings are a physical team, so we’ll see how it plays out for them tonight against the Ducks. The Ducks just haven’t looked like too good of a team to start the year off. But it is early and the Ducks have plenty of time to recoup that lost time with a successful season. A successful season hasn’t paid off for them in the past in the playoffs anyway, so maybe the results in the playoff might be different this season. I don’t know if there is any correlation between this, but if the Ducks play mediocre hockey in the regular season and end up winning the Stanley Cup, I think we have to take a look at their philosophy, ha. Being one of the best teams during the regular season hasn’t worked out for them too well. However, you don’t play to lose, so the Ducks aren’t losing purposely.
But look at the Kings, during their Stanley Cup runs, they hit their apex in the playoffs. In any case, there is still a lot of time for the Ducks to have a very good regular season and piss away the playoffs. Right now the Ducks are at 5-7-3-1. That is one of the worst starts the Ducks have had to a season in a while. It isn’t like the Ducks have lost a brunt of their core. For instance, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are still active. The Ducks traded for Ryan Kesler last season and it didn’t result in a Stanley Cup. On paper there is offense on this roster, but on the ice it hasn’t resulted in many goals. I do see it turning around. And actually, they have been much better on the offensive end in the last week or so. The Ducks are resting up right now (or partying), while the Islanders are just getting off the ice against the Kings, the 2-1 loss held up by the way. We’ll see what transpires tonight in Anaheim for the Kings and Ducks.
N.Y. Islanders vs. Anaheim Ducks Pick
After a really poor start to the season in October, the Ducks appeared to be turning the bus around in the opposite direction with a four game winning streak. However, after back-to-back hard overtime losses to the Coyotes and Oilers, which team is the real Ducks? Last years team who finished 51-24-7 or the team that is 5-7-3-1 at the moment. It truly is too early to tell which the right answer is. The Ducks have averaged only 1.69 goals per game this season, which is such a contrast to what they were doing last season offensively. You have to think that it’s just a slow start and things will begin to pick up. In their last six games they have averaged 3 goals per game, so if we use that as any kind of barometer they are, but a much larger sample size is needed for me to feel confident.
I think the perception among the Islanders is that their offense is a powerhouse. For a stretch of last season they were, but this is actually a team that is more dictated around defense than anything. During the first-half of last season, the Isles were on a tear offensively. This season they are scoring only 2.75 goals per game, but the defense is allowing just 2.38 goals a game. I took the Ducks a couple weeks ago against the Wild. The Ducks looked terrible, while the Wild were looking great in the games leading up to it. It was a situational bet on the Ducks. I see the Islanders looking sluggish tonight on the back end of a trip in the west coast, playing on a back-to-back. This would be a really bad loss for the Ducks if they can’t advantage here. These are the games they have to win to turn the season around. I am going to jump on the Ducks here.
PICK: DUCKS TO WIN -135