I have three NHL picks going on this nine-game NHL schedule tonight, and in case you didn’t see my first pick, I’ll recap what was a beautiful 2-0 night with my picks from Wednesday evening.
The night got off to a nice start between the Maple Leafs and Capitals as the two clubs combined to get over the 6.5 goal total. The Maple Leafs scored two early ones, but a three-goal ambush within 1:18 in the second period for the Capitals helped us big-time. A late third-period marker from John Tavares gave us just what we needed in a 4-3 Capitals win.
Our second winner on the night came later on in California as the Anaheim Ducks delivered the Buffalo Sabres their first regulation loss of the season by a 5-2 count. Buffalo has some of the most unsustainable numbers in the early going from an offense, defense, and power play standpoint, and goaltender John Gibson and the Ducks’ offense began that inevitable regression with a statement win to improve their surprising record to 5-2-0 on the young season.
Let’s move on two my second pick of the night featuring the New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets from Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.
Season Record: 5-5
*Odds courtesy of Bovada
Islanders vs. Jets Betting Odds:
Over 6.0 (-105)
Under 6.0 (-115)
Islanders vs. Jets NHL Pick
It’s a rare meeting between the Eastern Conference’s New York Islanders and the Western Conference’s Winnipeg Jets from Winnipeg tonight with the two teams trending in opposite directions.
The Islanders are the team trending up at the moment after winning back-to-back 3-2 games in extra time with a shootout win over the Panthers before upsetting the Blues 3-2 in overtime. The wins were much need for Barry Trotz’s club as the Islanders had dropped three of their first four games this season, although they did beat these Jets 4-1 on Long Island in their second game of the season on October 6th.
Tonight marks just the second road game of the season for Islanders after they were hammered 5-2 at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Islanders have been solid on defense for the most part this season, having allowed two goals or fewer in four of their six games, however they also allowed five goals to both the Hurricanes and Oilers on the young season. The Islanders are getting worked in the possession game at the moment as their 47.2% Corsi For% ranks 25th in the league while their 27.5 shots per game ranks 29th ahead of only the Lightning and Oilers.
While they’ve done well to click at a 27.3% clip on the power play, they’re still struggling to score goals overall as their 2.33 goals per game on the season are tied for 26th alongside the Blue Jackets and Wild. The Islanders have also been hurt by a penalty kill that ranks 22nd with an even 75% mark on the season.
If the back-and-forth rotation between goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss continues into this one tonight, it will be Varlamov’s turn between the pipes after Greiss defeated the Blues on Monday. Varlamov was actually the hero in goal for the Isles on Saturday when he turned aside 35 of 37 Panthers shots en route to a 3-2 shootout win. He’s been good in two of three starts this season, but was also torched and subsequently pulled from his start against the Oilers on October 8th. Overall, the veteran owns a 3.15 GAA and .905 Sv% in three outings after a down year with the Avalanche last season in which he posted a 2.87 GAA and .909 Sv%.
The Jets will be anxious to get back into the win column after dropping consecutive home games to the Penguins and Coyotes, getting outscored 11-4 in the process. The Jets managed to outshoot the opposition in each loss, but were the victims of poor goaltending against the Penguins while the penalty kill went 0 for 2 in the loss to the ‘Yotes.
After a hot start to the year up front, the Jets’ offense has been cooled down. They still sit with a healthy 3.13 goals per game on the season, but they’ve also allowed 3.75 goals per game thanks in large part to that penalty kill that ranks 30th with a brutal 60% mark on the season, ahead of only the New Jersey Devils and their 57.1% mark. A lack of secondary scoring is to blame for the Jets’ recent offensive woes as their bottom-six has largely been a non-factor of late.
Despite a much weaker blueline than we are used to seeing from the Jets compared to years past, Winnipeg is still winning the possession game with a 51.4% Corsi For% at even strength this season, good for 11th league-wide. After going 25-12-4 at home last season with the league’s third-ranked home offense and second-ranked home power play, this team certainly isn’t used to losing back-to-back at home and certainly not three in a row at home as well.
That’s why I’m back on the Jets again tonight at the same -130 odds that I took them at against the Coyotes on Tuesday. Sure, the blueline is thin, but they are once again facing an anemic offense that has scored more than two regulation goals in a game just once this season. I expect the home side to come out hard in this one after having lost back-to-back games on home ice. Losing three in a row at home is both extremely rare and extremely unacceptable, so let’s look for Winnipeg to get back into the win column in this one tonight.