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Islanders In Tough Against Visiting Penguins FridayIslanders In Tough Against Visiting Penguins Friday

Posted by Don Melrose on 3/19/2013 6:58:38 PM

The New York Islanders are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Moving any closer to that eighth and final seed this Friday won’t be easy. The Islanders are three points back of the New Jersey Devils for that final spot, but welcome the conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins to town on Friday. The Islanders won the first meeting of the season between these teams 4-1 before losing the last two sports betting contests by a combined 10-3 score, including a 4-2 loss when they hosted Pittsburgh in early February.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders
Friday March 22, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
NHL Sportsbook Line: Pittsburgh – 150

The Penguins will enter this game as one of the hottest teams in the NHL after riding a nine-game win streak to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Pittsburgh actually has a better win percentage on the road than at home based on playing more games as a visiting team, while the Islanders have actually played better hockey on the road overall.

NHL Betting Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins have two more wins on the road than they have at home thanks to two more games played as a visiting team, as it hasn’t mattered where they have played as the offense has been more consistent than any other NHL team. Pittsburgh’s fourth-ranked powerplay is a big reason why the team leads the league in goals per game with an average of 3.5, with captain Sidney Crosby leading the NHL in points with 48. The Penguins have also been a more responsible defensive team of late, with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury lowering his goals against average to 2.45 on the season thanks to much better play during the team’s recent win streak.

NHL Betting Preview: New York Islanders

The Islanders certainly have the offensive firepower to put up big numbers, as they are averaging close to three goals per game this season with the fifth-ranked powerplay in the NHL. John Tavares leads New York with 17 goals and 31 points, and has found some excellent chemistry with Matt Moulson on the team’s top line. The problems for the Islanders have been at the other end of the ice, where they rank 28th in the NHL with an average of 3.3 goals per game allowed this season. Evgeni Nabokov has shown flashes of what once made him an elite goaltender, but his 2.89 goals against average just hasn’t been good enough, and part of that is the team’s play in front of him.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

The Islanders have actually posted a much better record on the road than at home and part of that could be the pressure they face to perform in front of their home crowd. That shouldn’t be an issue with the streaking Penguins in town, as New York leaves it all on the line for the online betting chance to win and move a couple of points closer to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

NHL Betting Pick: New York Islanders

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