The New Jersey Devils are now playoff bound, and they head to visit the New York Islanders, who are hoping to hold on to their playoff spot and avoid Boston in the first round. We continue our NHL odds series with a Devils-Islanders pick, prediction, and how to watch.
New Jersey comes in off a win over the Ottawa Senators that clinched them a playoff spot. They are four points clear of the New York Rangers for the two-seed in their division, which would give them home ice in the first round. The Devils also still have a shot at that top spot in their division, only three points behind the Hurricanes. The Islanders come in off two straight losses, including a 2-0 shutout at the hands of the Sabres. These two teams split the first two games of the three-game series on the season, and they go into tonight hoping to win their final match-up against each other.
Here are the Devils-Islanders NHL odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Devils-Islanders Odds
New Jersey Devils: -1.5 (+190)
New York Islanders: +1.5 (-235)
Over: 5.5 (-140)
Under: 5.5 (+114)
How To Watch Devils vs. Islanders
Stream: NHLPP / ESPN+
Time: 7:30 PM ET/ 4:30 PM PT
*Watch NHL games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Devils Could Cover The Spread
The New Jersey Devils are 7-4-3 in the month of March. In that time frame, they have hit 35 or more shots in nine games, and they are 5-1-3 when getting to the 35-shot marker, losing two of those games in a shootout. The Devils are fifth in the NHL in goals per game averaging 3.42 goals per game. When they have gotten over that average in March, they are 4-1. When they score three or fewer goals, they are 3-3-3. Getting to that fourth goal is going to be highly important for the Devils.
New Jersey has the firepower to get to four goals. Jack Hughes leads the way with 40 goals on the season, which is good for ninth in the NHL. Behind Hughes are two more thirty-goal scorers in Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier. Only Edmonton has a roster of more 30 goal scorers than New Jersey, with four of them. The Devils have also been efficient in their shooting, with a 10.1 shooting percentage, which is the highest among the top five teams in shots.
New Jersey just got a boost in their goaltending, as Mackenzie Blackwood returned to the net for the first time since mid-February. In that game, he gave up three goals on 28 shots, getting the win over Ottawa. Vitek Vanecek is expected to get the start in goal tonight for the Devils. In seven starts, he is 4-2-1 in March and has a 3.05 goals-against average. That average continues the notion, if New Jersey gets to four goals, they will win.
Why The Islanders Could Cover The Spread
The Islanders have lost the last two but played a winning-style game in their most recent 2-0 loss. In that game, they ran into a hot goaltender who saved all 26 shots he faced. Semyon Varlamov was great in his own right, stopping 33 of 35 shots in the loss. The Islanders just could not get enough pucks on the net and convert on opportunities in the loss. The key to beating New Jersey will be to keep them under the four-goal marker. The Islanders have the sixth-best goals-against average in the NHL, just fractions of a point behind the Devils for fifth in that regard.
This is led by Ilya Sorokin, who is expected to get the start in between the piped for the Islanders. Sorokin is tied for the NHL in shutouts this year with five, sixth in goals against average, and third in save percentage. If it were not for the amazing play from Ullmark in Boston, Sorokin could be a favorite for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the top goaltender in the NHL.
Ultimately, the Islanders will need to find the back of the net more than they have in the last two games. In the three wins before the losing streak, the Islanders were doing just that, with 17 goals in those games. Although Brock Nelson leads the team in goals, it has not been him dominating the goal-scoring sheet. In the three-game win streak, Nelson only scored in one of the games, and 11 different players found themselves scoring in those games. Finding someone to take the goal-scoring mantle tonight will be huge for the Islanders to win.
Final Devils-Islanders Prediction & Pick
This should be a low-scoring affair with two of the best defensive units in the NHL on the ice. This is seen by the low over/under line provided in this game. The Devils are a good-scoring team though. They are only one of two teams in the NHL that are top five in both goal scoring and goals against average. The other team is the league-leading Boston Bruins.
Final Devils-Islanders Prediction & Pick: Islanders +1.5 (-235) and Over 5.5 (-140)
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