New York Islanders at St. Louis Blues
When and Where: Saturday, Jan. 5, Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Mo., 8:05 p.m. EST.
The surging New York Islander seek a sixth consecutive win Saturday night when they face a St. Louis Blues team trying to wrap up a five-game homestand with a winning record.
Isles gaining ground in hotly contested Metropolitan
The Islanders (22-13-4), who have won eight of their last nine overall, are seeking their first six-game winning streak since closing the 2016-17 season with one.
New York needed overtime to get past Chicago 3-2 on Thursday night, with defenseman Devon Toews picking an opportune time for his first NHL goal as he pounced on the rebound of his stopped shot and whipped it past Collin Delia 1:48 into the extra period.
The @EASPORTSNHL OT winner.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 4, 2019
“It feels good to score and to get the two points is huge for our team,” Toews told the team’s official website. “I felt like we played a tight game. We didn’t have too many chances, but we limited their chances. Just to be able to contribute feels good.”
Mathew Barzal continued his solid offensive play by scoring New York’s other two goals, giving him three multigoal games in his last four. Barzal, who leads the Isles with 38 points, has eight goals and three assists in a six-game point streak.
The Islanders also have won six of their last seven road games, giving up two goals just once in those contests. That stretch includes a 3-1 record against Western Conference teams.
Robin Lehner is expected to be in net in a bid to extend his personal winning streak to seven games. He has a 0.89 goals-against average and .970 save percentage during his run, stopping 159 of 164 shots.
Lehner is 4-3-1 with a 2.42 GAA and .931 save percentage lifetime against St. Louis and took a 1-0 loss in his most recent game against the Blues last season while playing for Buffalo.
Blues trying to gain momentum after beating Stanley Cup champs
St. Louis (16-18-4) has split the first four games of its homestand and playing its fourth straight opponent from the Metropolitan Division.
The Blues put together one of their most complete games of the season, defeating the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals 5-2 on Thursday night. St. Louis scored four unanswered goals, with Colton Parayko and Oskar Sundqvist scoring 4:10 apart in the second period to grab the lead for good.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) January 4, 2019
Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson made an instant impact upon his return, registering a plus-4 rating in less than 13 minutes of ice time. Fellow blue-liner Alex Pietrangelo‘s third-period tally was his 85th career goal, moving him into second place on the team’s all-time goals list for goals by a defenseman.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) January 4, 2019
Craig Berube has yet to name a starting goaltender, but Jake Allen is expected to get the nod and start every game in this homestand. He has given up two or fewer goals in three of the games while splitting four decisions, posting a .906 save percentage.
Allen split his two starts against New York last season, winning a shootout but getting pulled in the second period of the most recent meeting after yielding four goals in 18 shots of a 5-2 defeat. He is 2-2-0 in five lifetime starts versus the Islanders.
Ryan O’Reilly, who leads the Blues with 37 points, has recorded 26 of them — 11 goals and 15 assists — at home. O’Reilly, though, has just five points in 16 lifetime games versus the Islanders.
The Blues are:
- 2-8 in their last 10 games after a win.
- 3-7 in their last 10 games after allowing two or fewer goals in their previous game.
- The under is 15-7 in their last 22 games vs. Eastern Conference opponents.
- The under is 3-1-1 in their last five games on one day of rest.
The Islanders are:
- 6-1 in their last seven road games.
- 13-5 in their last 18 games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 4-1 in their last five games vs. Western Conference opponents.
- The under is 6-0-1 in their last seven road games.
- The under is 9-1-1 in their last 11 games following a win.
- The under is 6-0-1 in their last seven games vs. Western Conference opponents.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
New York is playing its best hockey of the season, and getting a little bit of puck luck like it did against Chicago on Thursday night always helps. The Islanders are playing a simple game and working hard, and their consistency is growing with each passing game.
St. Louis is playing better since Berube took over but still 9-10-1 with him behind the bench. The Blues occasionally play well in back-to-back games, but the kind of consistency New York is displaying is what they are lacking.
The Isles have won two of their last three games in St. Louis and look primed to make it three of four.
Prediction: Pick: Islanders +120
Full-Game Total Pick
Lehner has been stellar during his personal winning streak, though it was interesting the two goals he let up against Chicago came in periods he saw only three shots. Allen’s lone bad start on this homestand came against Pittsburgh, and aside from Barzal’s torrid stretch, the Islanders do not have the offense to turn this game into a shootout.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 5.5 goals
Full-Game Prop Bet
This is a pick in support of the hot goaltender and the hot team, Lehner and the Islanders. New York has held seven of its last eight opponents to three or fewer goals and six of its last seven games on the road. The Islanders also have a better penalty kill on the road (81.7 percent) than at home (77.0), but Lehner is a big factor in this pick.
Prediction: Pick: Blues UNDER 3 goals (-120)
Half-Time Side Pick
The Islanders have given up just one goal in the first period of their last six road games while scoring five, and the Blues have yielded goals in the opening 20 minutes in their last three contests. Taking the half-goal here is the smart play as opposed to the more aggressive -105 on the money line.
Prediction: Pick: Islanders +0.5 goals (-200)
Half-Time Total Bet
Both teams are averaging less than a goal per game in the first period, and with the Islanders in such sizzling form with Lehner between the pipes, the under is the better play.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 1.5 goals