NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders

The defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins are off to a solid start this year and will try to build on that as they head to Brooklyn to take on the slumping New York Islanders. The Islanders have lost 3 straight and are 2-5-3 in their last 10 games. They should be well rested–they last played on Monday losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 at home. Pittsburgh should be in a bad mood coming off a 7-1 domination loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins or not you’ve got to give them grudging respect for tenacity. They dealt with goalie injuries late last season and not only persevered through them but developed a new goaltending superstar in Matt Murray. They began this season without Sidney Crosby and didn’t even flinch. No doubt much of the credit has to go to the leadership of Mike Sullivan as head coach. Ever since he took over for the fired Mike Johnson the Penguins have been a monster. The players on the team deserve a lot of credit, of course, and not just the big names like Crosby and Malkin. The Pittsburgh defense was supposedly their big liability heading into the playoffs last year but by the time they hoisted the Stanley Cup they’d gelled into a solid defensive unit.

For me at least, the New York Islanders have always been a tough team to figure out. Just looking at their roster they’ve never seemed like much behind John Tavares but they’ve been a very competitive team over the past couple of seasons. This year there are problems which has left the Islanders with the worst record in the Eastern Conference (and in a tie for the second worst in the NHL with Vancouver). They’re a very mediocre team offensively (#19 in goals per game) and a bottom tier team defensively (#24 in goals against per game).

The Penguins have won 4 of the last 5 meetings against the Islanders including a 4-2 win at home in late October–the only game played so far this season. In a different scenario, the Islanders might be able to ‘sneak up’ on the Penguins. Coming off that embarrassing 7-1 loss and with a game against lowly Buffalo on deck the Penguins will have the Islanders right in their crosshairs.