The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the heels of one of their worst losses in as long as I can remember. The Washington Capitals had the Penguins’ throat clenched and didn’t let go. Perhaps taking some frustration out on them was needed for the Capitals. I’m sure it felt very good for the Caps, but the fact remains that the Pens are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and Sidney Crosby has two rings. Maybe the Capitals can find that same level in the playoffs if they meet the Penguins again, but until then, the Pens are kings of the Capitals. It can’t get much worse for the Penguins tonight against the New York Islanders. In fact, losing 7-1 to the Islanders would be an absolute embarrassment. The Isles have been rather uninspiring this season. They’ve sputtered and don’t look like the same team who built something good up over the past several years. Kyle Okposo is no longer with the team, but was he really worth this much to the Isles?
The Islanders have lost four straight games and are 8th in the Metropolitan Division. Overall they are 5-8-3 and they don’t have many wins against quality teams on their resume. They beat the Ducks in the third game of the season, and since their only other okay win came against the Wild. Other wins include the Coyotes, Maple Leafs, and Canucks. Eh, well those are some kind of wins. Nevertheless, it is still early this season and we cannot discount the Isles just yet despite showing us literally nothing. They are coming off a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, 4-0. The Lightning are a good team, but they didn’t show much resistance to the Bolts, who definitely showed who the better team is. They get another crack at a showcase win tonight against the Penguins.
The Penguins went with Matt Murray against the Capitals in net, who was ultimately replaced with Marc-Andre Fleury. The Pens just wanted to stop the bleeding, but the Penguins went with Fleury in the 2nd period. There are conflicting reports whether it was a concussion or poor performance that got him pulled. Murray passed the concussion protocol and seemed fine, so it appears that they just wanted some new energy. Fleury will get the call against the Islanders tonight. Despite the loss, the Penguins are still a solid 10-4-2. Nothing to be ashamed about there. The loss to the Capitals was definitely something to be ashamed about, though. The Pens are 8th in the NHL with 2.94 goals scored per game. Defensively they are 21st, but that last game against the Capitals certainly skewed their defensive numbers.
The Islanders have lost their last three games and have gone 1-6 in their last seven games. They are also 2-8 in their last ten games. The Isles have struggled to get it right on the defensive and offensive end. On defence they are 24th in the league, allowing 3 goals per game. And on offence the Islanders are 18th. Neither the offence nor defence in the top 15 will give you a record of 5-8-3. I don’t think the Penguins wanted to show their faces after getting mashed by the Capitals. However, I see them coming out playing a much better brand of hockey. There is a lot of value to be had here. The Penguins to win by more than a goal at +197 is an insane number. I feel like they have a better chance of earning a 4-1 or 4-2 win than that number indicates.
PICK: PENGUINS -1.5 (+197)