The NHL is nearing the All-Star break this upcoming weekend. Five games are up on the board for Tuesday night. One of the games will be between the streaking New York Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks. These two teams are in completely opposite directions in the standings to this point in the season. The game will start at 8:30 PM Eastern time.
New York has started the season with a record of 29-15-4, which has them in first place of the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders have been really hot as of late, winning five games in a row and twelve of their last fourteen. New York has been able to jump up the standings recently and they will look to keep the climb going with a win on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks have gone 17-24-9 this season, which has not been great. Chicago has earned the seventh spot in the Central Division and in a four-way tie for second to last place in the NHL standings. The Blackhawks are coming off a really solid win at home against the Capitals 8-5. Chicago will look to build off that win with another victory on Tuesday night.
Tuesday night’s matchup between the Islanders and the Blackhawks will be the second and final game of the season series. These two teams are both on opposite sides of the standings, but their first matchup of the season was close, and I believe it could be another good game being in Chicago on January 22.
New York and Chicago met twice last season as well. The first game was hosted by the Blackhawks, but the Islanders dominated the scoreboard. New York finished with a 7-3 win on the road. The second matchup of the season series shifted to New York, where Chicago was able to pull off a 3-1 win on the road. Neither team went on to make the playoffs last season as both teams were closer to the bottom of the standings.
The Islanders hosted the first matchup of this season’s series on January 3. The Blackhawks opened up the scoring with Dominik Kahun in the first period, but Matthew Barzal bounced back with two goals. Patrick Kane had a power play goal in the third period to send it to overtime, but it was Devon Toews who scored the game-winner in overtime to give New York the 3-2 win at home. Collin Delia had a huge night for the Blackhawks as he stopped 47 of 50 shots.
New York has been off to a much faster start this season and were able to take the first matchup of the season series. The Blackhawks were able to keep it surprisingly close on the road, and I believe they have a chance to win it at home on Tuesday night. These two teams were each able to win one game in the season series last year and I believe they do the same thing this season.
The Islanders are missing some key players on Tuesday night. Thomas Hickey, Andrew Ladd, and Linus Soderstrom are all out for their game against the Blackhawks. New York could also be missing Tom Kuhnhackl on Tuesday night. All four players are fit for more of depth roles, so it shouldn’t hurt too much, but they will be missed a little bit for Monday night’s game.
Chicago has also been hit pretty hard with their injuries this season. The Blackhawks are missing Corey Crawford and Gustav Forsling in their lineup. Chicago could also be missing Brenden Perlini for their matchup with the Islanders. Crawford was doing alright this season, averaging a .902 save percentage and a GAA of 3.28.
Both teams have been hit with injuries at a pretty even level. New York is missing more depth players that play solid defense, while the Blackhawks are missing two depth players and their goalie. Chicago’s backup stepped up big time in the first matchup and he will need to do so again on Tuesday night.
Robin Lehner will likely start in net for the Islanders on Tuesday night. Lehner has been red hot as of late, which has helped him get up to a 15-7-3 record on the season. Lehner has a .930 save percentage and a GAA of 2.02. He has done a really good job helping New York earn a surprising first place spot in the Metropolitan Division.
I believe that Collin Delia will get the start in net for Chicago on Tuesday night. Delia has put up a save percentage of .923 and a 3.00 GAA this season. He has played in nine games and earned a 4-2-3 record this season. Delia had a really good night against the Islanders early in the season and he will look to help give his team the win this time around.
These two goalies have both put up respectable numbers this season, but Delia has had a smaller sample size. He had a really strong performance in his first matchup against New York though and I believe with the home crowd this time around, he can have another solid night. Lehner has been near unbeatable as of late and he will provide a tough challenge for the Blackhawks.
The Islanders are coming into Tuesday night’s matchup on a strong streak, but Chicago is coming in off a very strong offensive performance. New York has been on a long winning streak and I believe there is a good chance it comes to an end on Tuesday night. These two teams have played pretty good matchups over the past season and a half and I believe this could be a good game again.
New York is listed as a -129 against the money line on BetOnline. This implies that the Islanders will win this game around 56 percent of the time. I believe that the Blackhawks have a good chance to pull off the upset at home and this gives Chicago a lot of value on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks will need another solid offensive performance and their goalie to step up, but I am taking Chicago as home underdogs.