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We go to the Steel City for Metropolitan Division matchup. The NY Islanders with a record of 14-3-1 (2nd in the NHL) take on the Pittsburgh Penguins who are 12th with a record of 11-7-2. The battle for the Metropolitan Division heats up, with the Islanders 7 points behind the Capitals, and the Penguins 12 points behind first-place Washington. So far this season the Islanders have played very well on the road, winning 5 of their 6 road games. Pittsburgh has been doing quite well at home themselves, with a record of 7-3-1. Look for this one to be a Metro Division Classic.
NY Islanders Look To Stay Dominant On The RoadThe NY Islanders have been very impressive this year, going 5-1 in their road games thus far. They will look to continue this trend as Mathew Barzal and this Islanders offence look to improve away from home. Right now they rank 18th in the NHL with an average of 2.67 goals per game when away from home ice. They will be searching for more than that this season if they want to remain in 2nd place in the entire NHL. Barzal is having a career year, netting 17 points in 18 games. NY is going to need more from their top guys, as their top lines have some of the lowest point totals in the NHL this season. Right now they are getting a well-balanced attack but come playoffs will need their stars to rise.
When on the road, the Islanders have been amazing at stopping other teams from scoring. They rank 1st in the NHL in goals allowed per game with a meer 2.12. Most of the credit can go to their goalies, Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov, who both have around a 92 save percentage. Most of the Islanders many wins this season can be contributed to these guys, as their defence has not been able to play up to their potential shown last year. Hopefully, their defence can step up and start allowing less than 33 hots per game.
Pittsburgh Penguins Win Big At HomeThe Penguins are coming off a huge 6-1 home win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. This year they have been able to succeed at home, getting points in 8 of their 11 home games this season. Even with many new players, they excel on defence when at home, ranking 4th in the NHL with only 2.09 goal allowed per game. Give credit to their defensemen, as they allow less than 30 shots per game. Their D men have also done a great job winning puck battles in the corner and clearing away rebounds this season. Jared McCann is a new centre on the Penguins but has stepped up for this injury-plagued team, scoring goals and doing a great job of clearing the crease to let Matt Murray make his saves.
Today's off-day player interviews ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/RWyuSnsN5c— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 18, 2019
This offence has not had the best of luck, with injuries to their two best stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. However, this team of new skaters has been able to find their chemistry and get goals scored. They Rank 22nd in goals scored per game at home with 3.09. While this does need to improve if they want to win games that may resemble a wild west shootout, for now, their hard-nosed late 90's style of hockey is winning them games. They score when they need to, but for the most part, they beat the other team with good puck control, by winning battles in the corners, blocking shots, and with neutral zone breakouts. This is a young team with many new faces who have found their identity as a team.
- Penguins are 128-60 in their last 188 home games
- Islanders are 3-7 in their last 10 vs. Metropolitan
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take Pittsburgh in the Metro matchup. While the Islanders have played well on the road, they have yet to really be tested with only 6 road games this season. Pittsburgh has been gelling very well with their new lines after injuries to two of the best players in the NHL let alone their team. They are hard-nosed, 90s type of team that is going to wear you down with possession in the offensive zone.
The Islanders have played very well this season, but their scoring has been so low this year, it is hard to imagine them leaving the Steel City with a win in this game. Their offense is facing one of the best defenses in the NHL, and they have not proven they can score on physical teams. Take the Penguins.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins -130
Full-Game Total Pick
These teams have had amazing goaltending all season. Despite the Islanders splitting time between two goalies, they both have played brilliantly this season. Varlamov has improved his pad work this offseason, really controlling the number of rebounds he lets up. Thomas Greiss has played up to his potential, keeping his position when screened, and flashing his lightning-fast glove.
The Penguins have seen a much better version of Matt Murray than they got last year. He is returning back to his form from his rookie year when he won 2 Stanley Cups in his rookie campaign. Take the Under as these defenses are stacked solid and expect this one to be very low scoring.
Prediction: Under 6 -125