A good matchup tonight between the visiting Nashville Predators and New York Islanders. It may not look like much at first glance, but I suggest to take a look at the standings later in the season. I imagine the Preds and Islanders will be right there near the top. I personally have more confidence in the Predators to be up there, as the Isles are looking to avoid a sophomore slump of sorts after having a breakout season last year. I routinely compared the 2014-15 Islanders to the Avalanche from the previous season, in Patrick Roy’s rookie season as head coach. Young talent propelled both of those teams, and they were both breakout campaigns in which people weren’t expecting much. However, the Avs had a drop off last season and didn’t capitalize on the success from 2013-14. They were still good, but they didn’t elevate themselves to a point Roy was looking for. The Avalanche failed to make the playoffs. The Isles don’t want me to compare them to the Avs again this season.
The Avs did lose out in key pieces on their team, which could explain the regression factor. The Islanders will keep their core intact, with John Tavares leading the charge on offense. Tavares has gotten off to a red hot start, already with 2 goals and 2 assists to his credit. The offense was on fire to start last season out, they were lighting the scoreboard up. But the defense left a lot to be desired. As the season progressed they improved drastically and became a much more rounded team. The Isles don’t want to rely on the offense scoring 4 goals every night. I think they’ll be fine for the most part, but the offense is going to be the unit that is the identity of the Islanders. They aren’t far off from having a really good defense, though. This is a pretty good NHL matchup to pay attention tonight if you aren’t a baseball fan and want some sports to watch.
Nashville Predators vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
The Predators have quickly been using their modus operandi to win games in 2015. They’ve been winning hockey games Predators style by playing sound defense and smothering the opposition with their brand of hockey. The man at the middle of the Preds’ success is goaltender Pekka Rinne. The Finnish netminder has a spectacular GAA of 0.67. Rinne has allowed only 2 goals, one against the Hurricanes and another against the Devils in his last start. The Predators are off to a 3-0 start, with wins over the Canes, Oilers, and Devils. The Islanders will be the best team they’ve faced thus far this season.
The Islanders have gotten off to an okay start with a record of 1-1-1. They are bound to improve on a .500 record. But will they be able to do it tonight? The Islanders have surrendered 3 goals per game while scoring 2.3 a game. They are also allowing over 30 shots per game which is a little concerning there. The sportsbooks are looking for a letdown spot from the Preds. After a 3-0 start I think they are looking at the “due” factor. The Isles are a worthy opponent, but I don’t think they should be laying -125 against Nashville. -110 to -115 yes I can see that, but not that high. I can’t lay that much against the Preds and it looks like a nice spot to back them with a nice price on the ML. I don’t fully trust the Islanders before they show me glimpses of last season.
PICK: PREDATORS TO WIN +113