We took home a much needed easy winner last night, as we went into the 1st period intermission with a 3-2 score. The Islanders and Penguins went on to settle things in a shootout, where the Isles came out victorious, knocking the Pens off by a score of 5-4. I said that if the Islanders win last night then people may start to take them more seriously. Well, there was the win, doing it in dramatic fashion over the best team in the NHL. Another win like that and they’ll be preparing the parade route. Okay wait, sorry, this isn’t fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the least people in New York might start to notice that there are actually two hockey teams named New York. The Rangers have enjoyed all of the success since the inception of the Islanders, and before it for that matter. The Islanders have been that little brother that no one talks about. John Tavares was the best thing that happened to this franchise, though, because no longer are they a little brother to the Rangers. The Islanders are a team that people want to tune in to watch and not watch because there is nothing else on TV.
The Isles will have the chance at another win like that, against who else, but the same team that they beat last night. They have now won seven of their last eight games. For as much as I haven’t liked the NHL schedule this season, I like this back-t0-back series between the Islanders and Penguins. They are two dynamic teams that showcase plenty of entertainment on the ice. Look no further than the game from last night, which featured a little of everything. The game I like most is the one that cashes, secondly I like a good game of hockey. We got both last night in that contest. Tonight I have to admit, I just want a good old fashion ass kicking. I don’t care if it is a runaway and the Penguins demolish the Islanders. Another stress free win would make for a good Saturday night. Hopefully the college football picks were falling for me today as well and this just ends up being a cherry on top. I sort of just gave away what my pick was before getting into the details, but look below to read my reasoning into this pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ N.Y. Islanders
We flip the city and venue tonight, as we get a rematch from last nights 5-4 Islanders win. The Isles would be the first team to beat the Penguins twice this season, and it would be the first time all season that the Penguins lost two games consecutively. Without much time to dwell on last nights loss, the Penguins will get right back at it against the same team. The Pens’ defense was playing uncharacteristically bad hockey last night. I thought the Islanders were going to score a couple or so, but I didn’t foresee them hitting 5 goals. The Penguins defense has been proficient all season long, not just the offense. Their defense ranks 6th in the NHL allowing 2.14 goals per game. I don’t see them having two poor nights in a row. The last time the defense got pummelled for 5 goals, they came back the next game and gave up just one goal in a 2-1 win. I can’t say they completely shut the Islanders down on offense, but it should be enough for them to win tonight.
Last nights loss was no fault of the offense, who scored 4 goals on the Islanders. The Penguins average about 4 goals per game, so that was a fairly predictable result for them. Surprisingly enough Pittsburgh has done better on the road this season than they have at home. They bring a 7-1-1 record entering tonight with an overall 13-3-2 mark. So, playing on the road doesn’t bother them much. On the road, the Pens have allowed only 1.8 goals per game. They should return tonight to look much better. But I don’t have faith in the 21st best defense to bounce back tonight. The Islanders and Penguins should split their two game series, concluding with a Penguins win tonight.
Pick – PENGUINS TO WIN (-118) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)