I made just one free NHL pick on last night’s tiny two-game schedule and we indeed got back on the winning track after a little cold stretch.
I had the Rangers as +120 underdogs to knock off the visiting Maple Leafs who were forced to go with backup Michael Hutchinson with Frederik Andersen sidelined at the moment.
Hutchinson allowed three first-period goals and a fourth in the second period on a gaffe and the Rangers were able to capitalize.
The Maple Leafs actually opened the scoring, but the Rangers replied quickly and then scored two goals just six seconds apart and to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. Despite the Leafs carrying the play in the second, Hutchinson fell in his crease and bobbled his stick as the Rangers slid one through his legs to take a 4-2 lead and snatched back the momentum.
The Maple Leafs made it 4-3 late in the third on a power platy goal, but an empty-netter sealed a 5-3 win for the home side.
It was nice to capitalize on a home underdog and get back on the winning track.
Now let’s turn our attention to tonight’s big 12-game schedule and see if we can build off that winner!
Season Record: 89-78-1
Now let’s take a look at this Kings vs. Islanders free NHL pick from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn!
Kings vs. Islanders Betting Odds
- Kings (+165)
- Islanders (-190)
- Kings +1.5 (-165)
- Islanders -1.5 (+145)
- Over 5.5 (+105)
- Under 5.5 (-125)
Kings vs. Islanders NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The Kings looked as if they were going to pull a huge upset on the Washington Capitals on Tuesday as they took a 2-1 lead later in the third period, but then they ran into a wall called Alex Ovechkin who scored three goals in less than five minutes to give the Capitals a 4-2 win.
It was the first of a four-game road trip for the Kings who last night traded goaltender Jack Campbell and bottom-six forward Kyle Clifford to the Maple Leafs as they prepare to sell off parts again at this deadline with an eye toward the future.
The Kings actually outshot the Capitals by a 31-23 count in that one, and that’s nothing new for a Kings team that has actually outshot their opponent in eight in a row, but have just one win in that time.
I mean, the possession numbers are of high quality.
At 5v5 on the road, the Kings rank second with a 53.14% Corsi For%, seventh with a 50.54% Scoring Chances For% and seventh with a 50.94% High-Danger Chances For%.
The problem has been two fold. They haven’t capitalized on their chances with a 28th-ranked 14.44% High-Danger shooting percentage at 5v5 while struggling to prevent goals on the chances they give up with a 29th-ranked .775 Sv% on high-danger chances against.
As a result, the surface numbers aren’t pretty.
The Kings rank 27th with just 2.33 goals per game on the road this season despite a decent power play that is tied for 16th with an 18.2% mark.
Defensively, they’ve struggled as well as they rank 24th with 3.40 goals against per game on the road while their road penalty kill of just 784.1% checks in at 28th league wide.
With Campbell being dealt, I would assume that tonight’s start in goal would go to Jonathan Quick, although the team did recall Cal Peterson last night after the trade.
It was late, however, and I don’t imagine Peterson would fly across the country right into tonight’s start, and while you never know, I am going to assume it’s Quick in goal for this one.
Quick has been better as the season has moved along as he enters this one sporting a 3.02 GAA and .895 Sv% on the season, but his road struggled continue with a 3.51 GAA and .880 Sv% across 16 road outings.
After a decent January in which he posted a 2.75 GAA and .905 Sv% in four outings, he’s posted a 3.11 GAA and .882 Sv% in two February starts, allowing three goals in each of those two starts including the aforementioned 4-2 loss to the Capitals.
The Islanders have been plagued with inconsistency for the last month or more, but got a big come-from-behind win over the Stars on Tuesday in which they tied the game late and won it in overtime.
It marked their second win in three games, but also just their second win over their last six since thumping Detroit 8-2 back on January 14th.
Getting their home ice advantage back was big as the Islanders had dropped three in a row at home since that big win over the Red Wings.
It wasn’t the defensively-stout game we expected from two quality defenses on Tuesday, but the Isles remain one of the NHL’s better home defenses.
They enter this one ranked 10th with 2.78 goals against per game at home this season, although their penalty kill sits just 20th with a 79.7% mark on home ice as well.
Offensively, they’re a whole lot better at home than they are on the road as they’re averaging 3.22 goals per game at home – good for 16th league wide – compared to just 2.50 goals per game on the road.
Their home power play hasn’t been great, however, with an 18% clip at home on the season.
Unlike the Kings, the Islanders don’t produce great possession numbers, but they do generate plenty of high-danger scoring chances.
At 5v5 at home, the Islanders rank dead last with a 46.74% Corsi For% and 24th with a 49.09% Scoring Chances For% but they also jump all the way to 10th with a 54.38% High-Danger Chances For%.
Also unlike the Kings, the Islanders have been able to capitalize on their chances and their goaltenders have been able to stop high-danger chances at a 13th-ranked clip at 5v5 at home.
At the time of this writing we aren’t sure who will get the nod in goal for the Islanders.
Semyon Varlamov earned the win on Tuesday, but that win narrowly ended a five-game losing streak for the veteran and Thomas Greiss had been getting more starts of late due to his stellar work in January that included 1.89 GAA and .945 Sv%.
Greiss stumbled a bit in allowing four goals in 24 shots in an OT loss to the Canucks on Saturday, but allowed just five goals over his previous three starts combined.
Nonetheless, we don’t have much of a clue who will get the nod for the home side tonight, so I won’t speculate on that too much.
The Kings played well in their loss to the Capitals on Tuesday and they continue to win the shot share on a consistent basis, but they also enter this one sporting an 8-18-4 record on the road while their home record sits at a much better – relatively speaking – 11-12-1 mark.
Shot share doesn’t mean much when you don’t finish and can’t prevent goals and that’s indeed been the case with this team.
The Islanders have struggled for consistency and have somewhat seen their defensively-stout identify fade over the last several weeks, but that win over the Stars could very well serve as a springboard to getting them back on the winning track.
Their offense managed four goals against a very good defense, and I believe that their top 10 home defense will be able to shut down the NHL’s 27th-ranked road offense in this one.
I’m not laying all that juice on the moneyline, but I do believe the Islanders have a real strong chance at winning this one in regulation time.
Therefore, give me the Islanders on the three-way moneyline at -120 to win this one in the first 60 minutes tonight.