New York Islanders Try to Join the Pack vs Blackhawks
The New York Islanders welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to the Barclays in what is a must-win. No. A need to win. No. A might win.
The New York Islanders likely hood of making a run for the playoffs are growing ever slimmer with the ridiculous strength of the Metropolitan Division.
Four teams are on winning streaks over five games. If there’s any hope of extending the season into at least May, the Isles have to start winning ASAP.
First up, the Chicago Blackhawks. Awesome. The team that’s won three Stanley Cups in the last seven years. The team that’s at the top of the Central Division. The team that now has their talismanic player, Jonathan Toews, back after being out for a few weeks with an injury. Fantastic.
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New York Islanders +105/-125 Chicago Blackhawks
I fully expected the Blackhawks to be favored for this game. As many of you probably did as well. But to have the Islanders at +105 seems a tad gracious.
Like I’ve said already, the Blackhawks are at the top of the Central Division with a 19-8-4 record and a decent 7-6-1 on the road. They’re a great team. But with Scott Darling between the pipes replacing the injured Corey Crawford the Isles have a shot. Or at least Vegas thinks so.
Darling has a fantastic 2.02 GAA and .933 SV% in 13 games played (11 started) this season. In his last five starts he’s posted .938, 1.00, .973, .958, and .971 save percentages.
The 27-year-old 6’6” back up (yeah, he’s 6’6”) is playing like a genuine starter. So whatever advantage the Isles thought they might be getting by going up against Darling, is certainly just a pipe dream.
What’s the solution for the Islanders? Shots. Just get shots on net. It’s not something they generally do very well, ranking 19th in the league for shots per game at 29.3. Ironically, five spots above the Blackhawks who manage just 28.3 shots per game.
Getting that done should be absolutely possible for the Islanders. Dominate the shot totals. Start there, and maybe that translate in dominating the goals totals. Maybe.
New York Islanders Lineup:
Lee-Quine-Chimera de Haan-Seidenberg
Kulemin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck Greiss (Halak)
Chicago Blackhawks Lineup:
Rasmussen-Kreuger-Panik van Riemsdyk-Campbell
Desjardins-Hinostroza-Mott Darling (Johansson)
Where to Watch the Game:
Venue: 7pm, Barclays Center
Radio: 970AM – The Answer, 88.7FM – WRHU, 103.9FM – LI News
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