The New York Islanders are trying to weather a storm. Not only are the Islands dealing with a cluster of injuries, but they’re also trying to stay afloat in a division that features four of the hottest teams in the NHL right now.
As of Dec. 1, the Hurricanes, Capitals, Penguins and Rangers are 35-5-4 combined, and each of them have won at least eight of their last 10 games. You could argue that even though they gave up a playoff berth, the fact that the Isles, who are 4-5-2 so far this month, are still in the game is impressive.
The Islanders take on the Penguins at UBS Arena Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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Penguins vs Islanders Prediction
It seems like every season the Penguins follow a similar pattern. Pittsburgh is off to a slow start, but is quickly getting back into shape and next thing you know, the Pens are comfortably in a playoff spot. After skating to a 4-6-3 record from the start, Pittsburgh is 15-3-3 in its last 21 games and is three points ahead of the Isles with two games in hand.
While the Penguins’ statistical portfolio confirms their excellence — Pittsburgh hit a 53.3% expected goal rate and 53.7% high-risk scoring chance rate this month — one anomaly that stands out is that the Pens were actually outscored, 18-16, at 5-5 in that span. You can attribute some of that funky to bad luck — the Pens have only been shooting 6.53% 5-for-5 since Dec. 1 — but they’ll have to flip that script if they want this run to continue.
The Islanders are experiencing something very different from Pittsburgh. While the Pens are finding ways to win despite their 5-on-5 scoring issues, the Isles have won just four of 11 in December despite a +7 goal differential to five aside. Part of the problem is an anemic power play that hasn’t scored in its last seven games (0 for 22).
Abysmal power play aside, the Islands actually play some decent stuff despite their WL foot record. The Islanders have posted a 52.4% expected goal rate and a 52.5% high-risk goal-scoring chance rate at 5-on-5 in their last 11 games, which are big improvements over what we saw from the side of Lane Lambert in the first two months. in the countryside. Their record may not show it, but the islands seem to be heading in the right direction.
Both of these teams have benefited from superb goaltenders this season, but the Islands have a clear advantage in the blue paint with Ilya Sorokin who will face Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith.
Betting on the NHL?
As expected, the betting market supports the Penguins on the road Tuesday night. Pittsburgh has won 15 of 21 games and is the healthiest team, but the Isles have been playing better than their record lately suggests and should have the goalie advantage.
You might as well wait for the market, but the islands are worth it as an underdog at home in a place where buying is low and selling is high.
Pick Penguins vs Islanders
Islanders +116 (FanDuel)