The New York Islanders take their act to Texas, where they look to shake off some recent rust against the Dallas Stars. The Stars aren’t exactly an easy night at the office, but it would be a nice boost of momentum for the Isles in any event. The Islanders have lost four of their last five games. Note that all four of those losses were on the road. If there is any consolation, the Stars have gone 2-3 in their last five, so this isn’t exactly a meeting of hot contenders. But there is no denying they are still pretty good teams. Good enough to make it deep in the playoffs? Some people will make an argument for the Stars, but until they rectify that defense, they will not be able to make it through the grueling NHL playoffs.
This isn’t a knock on them, because they did addressed the defense in the offseason, improving from last season. And continue to look for avenues to make the defensive unit better. Fixing things can take time. At the trade deadline they nabbed Kris Russell from the Flames and took some steps to make their defense better. However, the results haven’t been there lately. Notably, I really think the Stars need to find a better goaltender at one point or another.
Kari Lehtonen is decent. But that’s where it ends with him, decent. He owns a record of 20-9-2, yet has a GAA of 2.94. You know who he reminds me, a little bit, is Drew Hutchison from the Toronto Blue Jays. Hutchison had a record of 12-2 through the season, but his ERA was skewed too high, with a 5.06. So, his record wasn’t indicative of how he was really playing, and it is sort of the same case with Lehtonen. Most goaltenders would not be sporting a record of 20-9-2 with a 2.94 GAA. Lehtonen has been on the good side of having a superior offense on his side. A lot of other goalies do not have that luxury, they need to steal games.
The Stars really need a guy like that to send them over the top, and for me to take them as a serious contender. The Stars enter with a season record of 42-21-9, while the Isles own a mark of 38-22-9. Like I said, these are good teams, but haven’t shown it lately. Let’s see what transpires on Saturday night in the NHL down south in Texas.
N.Y. Islanders vs. Dallas Stars NHL Pick
The Stars have one of the best 1-2 punches in the NHL. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have combined to become quite the duo in Dallas. Acquiring Seguin from the Bruins has paid off well. It’s paid off well for Seguin, who reinvented himself with the Stars. Seguin has scored 33 goals and 40 assists, while his counterpart, Benn, has turned the red light with 36 goals and 44 assists. However, the Stars have suffered a blow as Seguin sliced his Achilles. Reports indicate 3-4 weeks off for him. It could have worse, much worse.
The Stars’ offense has been playing well lately. We’ll see how they do without Seguin. They’ve scored 3.10 goals in their last ten games. On the season Dallas is 1st in the league, with 3.21 goals scored per game. Thus, their last ten games has been consistent with their season average. Nevertheless, the defense needs to provide some help, they allowed 3.30 goals in their last ten games and have been regressing in the second-half. The Stars are 24th defensively, after sitting around 15th for the greater part of the first-half of the season. The Islanders have succeeded on offense too, posting 2.78 goals per game, 6th in the NHL.
The OVER has gone 8-2 in their last ten meetings between one another. The Stars have hit the OVER in five straight games, and are 7-1 to the OVER their last eight games. Despite Seguin being out, I still feel the OVER is a bet worthy of a wager on Saturday night.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)