The New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders will play each other eight times this season, and the opening game of their series is set for Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, so here’s the best betting pick for this East Division clash along with the latest odds on BetMGM Sportsbook.
The Devils and Islanders are the old foes from the Metropolitan Division. New York has dominated New Jersey lately, as the Islanders have won 14 of their previous 20 encounters with the Devils including five of the last six.
The Devils search for their third straight win
After a 3-2 home loss to the Boston Bruins in the opener, the New Jersey Devils (2-0-1) upset the odds in their next two showings, outlasting the Bruins 2-1 as +165 home dogs and the New York Rangers 4-3 as +130 road dogs.
Center Jack Hughes scored a couple of goals against the Rangers and added one assist, so he’s leading the Devils this term with six points on his tally. Winger Miles Wood scored three goals along with one dish, while defenseman Ty Smith has one goal and two assists through the first three contests of the season.
Mackenzie Blackwood has guarded the cage thus far, and the 24-year-old Canadian is undoubtedly the Devils’ first-choice goalie. He’s been impressive, posting a 1.90 GAA with a .948 save percentage, and Blackwood had a whopping 47 stops in that 4-3 win over the Rangers.
The Islanders beat Boston in another low-scoring affair
The New York Islanders (2-1-0) started the new season with a two-game set at the New York Rangers, winning the opener 4-0 and suffering a heavy 5-0 defeat in the second game of the series. They are coming off a 1-0 home victory over the Boston Bruins, as Semyon Varlamov recorded his second shutout of the season already.
Ilya Sorokin patrolled the crease in that tough loss to the Rangers, but Varlamov will be the first choice for Barry Trotz. Last season, Varlamov went 19-14-6 with a 2.62 GAA and a .914 save percentage while posting an 11-7 record with a 2.14 GAA and a .921 save percentage in the playoffs.
Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his first goal of the season against the Rangers. He joined the Islanders last season and netted eight goals in the playoffs. Center Matthew Barzal also has one goal this term, while C Anders Lee netted twice.Trends:
- 1-5 in the last six games against the Islanders
- 7-13 in the last 20 games played on Thursday
- 10-2 in the last 12 home encounters with New Jersey
- 7-4 in the last 11 games at home
The Devils are a young but very talented team. Mackenzie Blackwood is one of the top prospects in the league, and the Devils can count on a few top-notch forwards, though Nico Hischier is sidelined with a leg injury.
Anyway, I don’t think the Devils will have enough firepower to beat the Islanders who are certainly one of the best defensive teams in the league and a legitimate championship contender. Although their offensive game doesn’t seem pretty on paper, the Islanders know how to take and preserve the lead. They love to be physical and should dominate the Devils.
Pick: Take NY Islanders at -146
The under is 10-2 in the last 12 meetings between these two teams at Nassau Coliseum, and considering the Islanders’ style of play under Barry Trotz, we should expect to see more of the same. On the other side, ten of the Devils’ last 14 contests went in the under, so I won’t overthink this one.
Three of the last four meetings between the Devils and Islanders went in the under while producing five or fewer goals in total. Pick: Go under 5.5 goals at -130