NHL Hockey Betting: Dallas Stars at New York Islanders

NHL Hockey Betting:  Dallas Stars at New York Islanders

The New York Islanders will play their first game with interim head coach Doug Weight on Thursday as they host the Dallas Stars at the Barclays Center. Weight was named interim coach after his predecessor, Jack Capuano, was fired on January 17. The Islanders will enter Thursday’s game with the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 17-17-8 for 42 points. They were done in by a bad road record (6-9-4) and 8 overtime losses. The Stars are in fifth place in the Central Division tied with Winnipeg and 1 point behind fourth place Nashville. They’re 4-5-1 in their last ten games.

Neither team has confirmed their goaltender for this game but the Stars will most likely start Antti Niemi and the Islanders will respond with Thomas Greiss. Niemi is 10-7-4 on the season with a 3.16 goals against average and a 0.902 save percentage. Greiss is 11-7-2 with a 2.41 goals against average and a 0.925 save percentage with one shutout. Both of these teams are among the worst defensive teams in hockey. Dallas is tied for #28 in goals against per game (3.13) while the Islanders are tied for #23 with St. Louis and Pittsburgh (2.98). The Islanders do have the consolation in being #8 in goals scored per game (2.83) while the Stars are ‘middle of the pack’ at #14 with a 2.74 goals per game average. The Islanders have received poor special teams play as well–they’re #28 on the power play and #21 on the penalty kill. The Stars are in essentially the same situation on special teams–they’ve got a better power play (#19 at 17.4%) but a worse penalty kill (#29 at 74%).

Weight is in a great situation to get his first win as interim coach. The Stars are a poor defensive team and should be easy pickings for the superior Islanders’ scoring attack. Dallas has been a poor road team this season (7-12-4) and have been miserable in non-conference games (3-10 -9 units). The Stars have two big home games on Deck (1/21 vs. Washington, 1/24 against Minnesota). Dallas could also be in ‘letdown mode’ after their wild 7-6 win over the Rangers last time out. The teams split a pair of games last season with both teams winning at home and the Islanders have won the last two games on home ice.