On a small two-game NHL schedule yesterday it was nice to hit a winner on my single free NHL pick.
I had the Red Wings and Avalanche to go over the 6.5 total from Colorado, and not just because of the Avs’ high-octane home offense.
No, I was relying on the Red Wings to get some offense going themselves too against the Avs and their weak home defense and penalty kill. Indeed, the Red Wings opened the scoring, but things didn’t look promising with a 1-0 score after one.
Furthermore, it didn’t look much more promising in a 2-1 Avalanche lead after two.
However, both offenses get it going in the third, and the Avalanche really took off and ended up handing the Red Wings a 6-3 loss in that one.
In the final sentence of my piece from yesterday, I mentioned something like a 5-2 or 6-3 score, and that was indeed the case with the latter.
It was a nice +105 winner and I’ll look to keep it going on tonight’s bigger five-game NHL schedule!
Season Record: 82-68-1
Now let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Islanders vs. Rangers from Broadway!
Islanders vs. Rangers Betting Odds
- Islanders (-104)
- Rangers (-106)
- Islanders +1.5 (-275)
- Rangers -1.5 (+230)
- Over 6 (+103)
- Under 6 (-114)
Islanders vs. Rangers NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The Islanders have lost plenty of ground in the Metropolitan Division of late and sit just one point ahead of the red-hot Blue Jackets and two points ahead of the Hurricanes for the third spot in the division.
They enter this one having lost three in a row and five of their last six, including twice to these Rangers as the two teams meet for the third time in eight days tonight and the second time in NYC in that span.
The team’s offense has been better at home – by far – than on the road this season as they sit 17th with a solid 3.20 goals per game at home this season compared to just 2.43 goals per game on the road – good for 24th.
However, this team wins their games on defense, for the most part, and their road defense has been better than their home defense this season.
In fact, the Islanders rank first with 2.61 goals against per game on the road despite being outshot by an average of three shots per game on the road as well.
That’s the interesting case with this team in the sense that they sport some elite defensive numbers but the advanced metrics are bearish in terms of possession.
At 5v5 on the road, the Islanders rank 24th with a 46.57% Corsi For%, 24th with a 45.91% Scoring Chances For% and 26th with a 43.87% High-Danger Chances For%.
Their sixth-ranked .929 Sv% at 5v5 on the road has helped, as has their sixth-ranked .842 Sv% on high-danger scoring chances against.
Looking to keep those goaltending trends alive will likely be Thomas Greiss tonight who provided a nice 31-save effort in a tough-luck 2-1 shootout loss in Carolina on Sunday night after Semyon Varlamov struggled in their home loss to the Capitals on Saturday.
Greiss enter this one sporting a 2.45 GAA and .923 Sv% on the season to go along with a 13-7-1 record.
On the road, Greiss owns a 2.66 GAA and .920 Sv% to go along with a 5-5-1 record while he’s bounded back nicely in January with a 2-0-1 record to go along with an elite 1.81 GAA and .942 Sv% in three starts and four appearances.
It’s clear the Islanders want to go with the hot hand in this one.
The Rangers are playing some inspired hockey of late, notching victories in two of their last three and four of their last six, including a pair of wins over these Islanders in that span.
They were caught up by the red-hot Blue Jackets their last time out, however, dropping a 2-1 affair on home ice to snap a five-game home winning streak.
Their home offense has been good this season, scoring 3.54 goals per game to sit tied for fifth in the league while their 22.9% mark on the power play sits 10th.
It’s certainly been the main cause of success at home considering their defensive and possession numbers at home are suspect, to say the least.
The Rangers rank 22nd with 3.08 goals against per game at home this season, but the more concerning numbers are in the possession metrics.
There’s one huge bright spot for the Rangers in this matchup and it’s been the work of young goaltender Alexandar Georgiev who has continued to stymie this Islanders offense.
In two starts against the Islanders last week – both wins – Georgiev turned aside a combined 70 of 74 shots, good for a .946 Sv%.
In five career starts against the Islanders, all Georgiev has done is post a 1.40 GAA and .955 Sv% with a shutout and a 4-1-0 record.
For the season, he’s the owner of a 3.06 GAA and .913 Sv%, although his work at home is inferior to this work on the road as he’s posted a 3.24 GAA and an .899 Sv% in going 3-5-1 at home on the season.
Admittedly, I was burned in taking the Islanders on the moneyline in each of the two meetings between these clubs last week.
However, I’m going to stick with the Islanders here as their price has gained value since the opening odds came out with the Islanders closer to -120 favorties while they sit as the slightest of underdogs at this point.
I’m liking the defense and goaltending for the road side here. They’re the best in the business in that department on the road and Greiss is coming off another excellent January outings.
The Georgiev curse is real, however, and while it’s concerning, his work at home on the whole this season hasn’t been great and it’s been a season-long trend.
After seeing plenty of offense, the Rangers were cooled off by another good defense against the Blue Jackets their last time out which also cooled a streak that saw them win four of five.
The Islanders are certainly slumping entering this one, but it’s a good opportunity to get fired up for a rivalry game against a team that’s gotten the better of them twice of late.
We’ll see how this one goes, but I like the Islanders to snap their slump and take back bragging rights from their New York rivals tonight.