New York Islanders (5-3-0-1; 7-2 ATS; 4-5 O/U) vs. Minnesota Wild (2-3-1-1; 4-3 ATS; 5-1-1 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 8:00pm EST
Line: Minnesota -140/New York +120
The New York Islanders will head to Minnesota to take on the Wild in an inter-conference battle Thursday night from the Xcel Energy Center. The Islanders recorded a 5-3 home win over the Coyotes last week, and the Wild were blanked 1-0 by the Canucks on Tuesday night. Each team won once on their home ice in last year’s two-game season series.
Tavares Scores Hat Trick in Islanders Third Straight Win
The New York Islanders continued their strong play with a solid 5-3 home win over a weak Coyotes team on Tuesday night. John Tavares ended his point drought by scoring a hat-trick along with one assist. The Islanders captain had gone five straight games without recording a point before his four-point effort and has now netted three goals with three assists on the season. Tavares has played well against the Wild in his career, collecting six goals with six assists in 11 games. Josh Bailey extended his point streak to four games by picking up an assist in the win. The 28-year old left-winger is a strong two-way player and now leads the Islanders with seven points on the season. The Islanders are heating up offensively which has played a huge role in their three-game winning streak. They are scoring an average of 3.1 goals per game, ranking them 16th in the NHL.
The Islanders have been rotating between Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak between the pipes this season. Halak features a solid 2.66 GAA with a 2-2 record, while Greiss has not been as sharp, registering a 3.05 GAA with a 2-1-1 record. New York is now allowing an average of 2.9 goals per game, placing them 16th in the NHL.
Wild Shutout by Canucks
The Minnesota Wild could not find the back of the net in their 1-0 home loss to the Canucks on Tuesday night. They did fire 29 shots on goal but went 0 for 4 on the power play, and have now lost three out of their last four games. Veteran Chris Stewart is off to a surprisingly hot start, leading the Wild with eight points. The 29-year old right-winger is not a big point producer, recording only 21 points in 79 games last season. Watch for Eric Staal in this one as he is averaging nearly a point per game against the Islanders in his career, collecting 23 goals with 23 assists in 48 career games. The 13-year veteran center has recorded five points with a minus two rating in seven games played this season. The Wild have been solid offensively, scoring an average of 3.1 goals per game, ranking them 11th in the NHL.
Minnesota is expected go with Devan Dubnyk in goal in this contest. Dubnyk has not been as sharp as usual early in the season, recording a subpar 3.25 GAA and an .899 save percentage. The Wild are allowing more goals than expected, conceding an average of 3.1 goals per game, placing them 21st in the NHL.
The New York Islanders are:
- 1-5 in their last 6 games against the Central division.
The Minnesota Wild are:
- 16-6 in their last 22 home games against a team with a losing road record.
- 15-5 in their last 20 Thursday games.
- 9-3 in their last 12 games when their opponent scores five or more goals in their previous games.
I am taking the Wild in this matchup. The Wild are a strong team and I can’t see them losing their first three home games to start the season considering they were such a dominant home team last season. Minnesota features the better defense and goaltending led by Devan Dubnyk and I expect them to get back on track on their home ice. The Wild have been finding the back of the net, scoring four or more goals in four of their last six games, and I am confident they can come away with a home win in this one.