NHL Hockey Betting: New York Rangers at New York Islanders

NHL Hockey Betting:  New York Rangers at New York Islanders

On paper, the never ending battle between New York City’s NHL hockey teams doesn’t look like much this time around. The Rangers are tied for the Metropolitan Division lead with the Pittsburgh Penguins and both teams lead the surging Columbus Blue Jackets by a single point. The Islanders, meanwhile, have not only the worst record in the Metropolitan Division but the entire Eastern Conference. What makes this game potentially entertaining is that the Islanders haven’t really been that bad while the Rangers have been treading water of late.

The Rangers are 17-8-1 on the season but are just 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. They beat Carolina 4-2 at MSG in their last game while the Islanders lost a 4-3 verdict to the Detroit Red Wings at the Barclays Center. Before that, they’d won 3 straight beating Calgary and Pittsburgh at home and upsetting the Capitals 3-0 in Washington, DC. Both teams are expected to go with their starting goaltenders here though neither has been ‘confirmed’ by the team. Henrik Lundqvist will get the assignment for the Rangers and he’s 12-7-1 on the year with a 2.47 goals against average and a 0.914 save percentage. Jaroslav Halak is penciled in for the Islanders and he’s got a 4-6-5 record with a 2.93 goals against average and a 0.909 save percentage. Halak’s numbers underscore why the Islanders could be a surprise team after the first of the year–they’ve been competitive in most games. Eight of their games have gone to OT/SO and five have ended in a loss. Their road play has also been an issue at 2-6-1.

This has the earmarks of a ‘turnaround’ game for the Islanders. They’ve dominated their cross town rivals in head to head play winning 7 of the last 10 head to head including 3 of 5 at home. They swept four games against the Rangers last year but lost the only meeting this year dropping a 5-3 decision at Madison Square Garden on 10/13/16. Given the history of this series and the Rangers’ less than impressive performance of late the price simply looks too high. We’ll take the Islanders to win what could be one of their most important games of the season.