The New York Islanders had their six-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes also playing solid hockey lately, were on the winning side against the Islanders, 4-3. They scored to make it 4-2 late to spoil a win on the UNDER and then the Isles buried a goal immediately after to make it an interesting finish, though ruined a push on the UNDER with what amounted to a meaningless goal.
Three goals with under 5 minutes to go in regulation put a damper on that bet, but it happens from time to time. It didn’t help that the Isles opted to go with Thomas Greiss in net instead of Robin Lehner. The Islanders are in NYC tonight at Madison Square Garden to take on their intercity rivals, the Rangers. They’ve been the aggressors against the Rangers recently with 12 wins over the Rangers in their previous 14 meetings.
The Islanders haven’t had any issues making the short trip to MSG, either. They have gone 7-2 in their last nine in NYC. However, the Rangers are the most recent winners in a 5-0 final on November 21st. That was six days after the Islanders won an exciting 7-5 game in Brooklyn. As an overall winner this season, that of course goes to the Islanders.
They are 23-14-1 entering tonight, while the Rangers are 17-18-5 in a rebuilding phase. Not too bad for a team that wants to blow things up and start new soon. However, they are on a four-game losing streak and looking more like the team we expected to see. The Rangers have managed just 5 goals during that stretch and now they have to find a way to figure Lehner out. It would have been laughable to make that statement in previous seasons, but Lehner has been one of the best performing goaltenders in 2018-19. Head below for our free Islanders vs. Rangers pick.
N.Y. Islanders vs. N.Y. Rangers Pick
Lehner has been outstanding this season and leads all goaltenders in the NHL with a minimum of 20 starts. Jack Campbell of the Kings leads with a 0.93 save percentage, though has only made 15 appearances. In 21 games for the Islanders, Lehner has a 0.927 save percentage. With respects to GAA, Lehner leads all regardless of starts, with a 2.18 GAA this season. The top 1-2-3 goes Lehner, Campbell, and then Curtis McElhinney.
Not exactly how it was drawn up to look at the beginning of the season, but it’s refreshing to see some new faces. Greiss allowed the Islanders’ last outing to slip away, as he gave up 4 goals on just 24 shots. That shouldn’t be happening, and it hasn’t with Lehner often this season.
Despite the rough start for Greiss, the Islanders have improved tremendously defensively from a season ago. It’s been night and day, as they are 4th in the NHL with 2.63 goals allowed per game. They were dead last a season ago, so it’s such an impressive flip.
It would have been nice to retain the services of Tavares, but they’ve been able to get better in other areas. In their previous ten games, the Isles have given up only 2 goals per game. Lehner has allowed more than 2 goals in only one of his last seven outings. Lundqvist might have to duplicate Lehner for the Rangers tonight. He’s been better at home with a 2.63 GAA and 0.917 save percentage compared to on the road. Overall, the Rangers have allowed 3.4 goals per game, but 2.62 per game at MSG. They have been struggling to score, though, with only 2.2 goals per game in their previous ten showings. The UNDER has gone 3-1 in their last four meetings and should be 4-1 after tonight.