New York and Nashville renew acquaintances in the Music City and we’ve booked one of our biggest plays of the season!
The New York Islanders continue their three-game road trip Thursday with a game against the Central leading Nashville Predators, who have stumbled upon hard times with losses in six of their past eight games. Four of the six losses were away from home and all four opponents Nashville faced during their current skid were respectable foes but the Preds are only home for two before heading out on a tough west coast swing to California. Peter Laviolette knows it’s time to slam on the brakes right now and he’s turning to his No. 1 netminder, Pekka Rinne, to get the job done.
Rinne missed time early in 2015 but looked good upon his return, winning five consecutive home games from Feb. 7-17. Road starts overall have not been nearly as good for Rinne this season, as he’s been lit up several times including a 5-2 loss to these same Islanders on Feb. 19. Nashville has faced one of the league’s most demanding schedules since the All-Star break and now find themselves playing their third game in four nights, but that’s been a good spot for them at home, where they are 4-0 on the year.
PREDS IN THE 3 IN 4
When playing their third game in four nights this season, Nashville leaned on Rinne each time for home games and he’s answered the call.
Dec. 30: 2 goals allowed vs. St. Louis
Jan. 6: 2 goals allowed vs. Carolina
Feb. 10: 2 goals allowed vs. Tampa Bay
Feb. 24: 2 goals allowed vs. Colorado
The New York Islanders are 2-2-2 in their past six, scoring two or less goals in four of those games. The scoring outbursts, a 5-1 win over Arizona and 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes, were both home games and neither one of those teams will confused with a defensive stalwart. The Coyotes (3.41) rank dead last in the league for average goals against and Carolina (2.69) is fighting just to keep pace in the mid-pack. Nashville (2.43) is fourth overall and at home, the Preds have allowed just 2.19 goals per game this season. They are -143 to win this game and Over/Under odds show 5.5 UN -115. We lean to the under but the Isles have given up 2.85 GPG on the road this year and the disturbing trend of NHL coaches yanking their goaltenders with more three minutes left in a one- or two-goal game can ruin a good play in a heartbeat. For today’s NHL best bet, back the team total with just five cents more juice than the full game total.
Pick: Take the Islanders Team Total UNDER 2.5 at -120