Kyle Palmieri, Taylor Hall, and the New Jersey Devils will face off against Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, and the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum in a divisional showdown. NBC Sports Network will air the matchup, and the puck drops at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 2.
New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders Odds
New Jersey (+180) is entering this one as the underdog to New York (-220), and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at 6 goals (-120 for the under, +100 for the over) at William Hill.
New York is 25-13 straight up (SU) and has netted 10.6 units for moneyline bettors this year. That winning percentage, second-strongest in the NHL so far in the early season, is an improvement compared to what the team managed during last year’s regular season (48-34). Of its 38 games this season, 15 have gone under the total, while 15 have gone over and just two have pushed. This season, the team is 13-6 SU at home.
The Islanders have converted on 20.0 percent of their power play chances this season, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, their penalty kill is rated 16th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 80.6 percent of all penalties.
Boasting a .920 save percentage and 25.3 saves per game, Semyon Varlamov (15 wins, nine losses, and three OT losses) has been the most dependable goalkeeper for the Isles this year. If head coach Barry Trotz decides to give him the night off, however, the team might go with Thomas Greiss (11-8-8 record, .919 save percentage, 2.58 goals against average).
New Jersey has lost 10.2 units for moneyline bettors thus far and is currently 14-25 straight up (SU). Through 39 regular season matches, 21 of its games have gone over the total, while 17 have gone under the total and just one has pushed. The Devils are 8-11 SU as a road team this season.
The Devils have converted on just 14.9 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a figure that’s ranked 28th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 20th overall and it’s successfully killed off 80.0 percent of all opponent power plays.
MacKenzie Blackwood (.907 save percentage and 2.85 goals against average) has been the primary option in goal for New Jersey. Blackwood is averaging 26.2 saves per game and has 13 wins, 17 losses, and five overtime losses to his credit.
New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders Free Picks
Prediction: SU Winner – Islanders, O/U – Under
The Islanders are 3-1 in games decided by shootout. The Devils are 2-4 in shootouts.
For both of these teams, the over has hit in three of their last five matchups.
Over New Jersey’s last ten games, six of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 2-4 in those games).
The Islanders this season have registered the second-most hits per game in the NHL (29.9), but that average has risen to 33.0 over their last five games as the home team.