After losing back to back games in the first week of the new decade, the Islanders finally got one back and beat the Avalanche 1-0 on Monday.
Their losses to the New Jersey Devils and the Toronto Maple Leafs showcased their lack of depth at forward and inability to score. In the last three games, the Islanders have only put up two points… That is including their Monday night win over the Colorado Avalanche.
However, according to the odds feed over at SBR’s best sportsbooks the New York IslandeKuhnhacklrs came in as -135 favorites over the NJ Devils on Tuesday evening. So, the last place Devils got a win over the Islanders the other day. Big whoopty-doo. They have had a moment of a resurgence since late December, beating the Blackhawks 7-1, then taking the Maple Leafs to the edge and losing 5-4 in overtime. Then they beat the Ottawa Sens, 4-3, the Boston Bruins 3-2, and of course, the NY Islanders 2-1. Then they got hammered by the Avalanche on Saturday, who we just beat.
I expect that the Devils’ little run is over and they’ll slip comfortably back down with the rest of the sediment that rests on the bottom of the barrel.
So, let’s look ahead to Saturday when the Isles face the current top team in the Atlantic Division.
Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders | Saturday, January 11th, 7 PM @ Barclays Center
The Bruins, as of Tuesday afternoon, are 24-8 with 11 OTLs over their 43 games played. They have racked up 59 points, which is good enough to give them a six-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
Meanwhile, as of Tuesday afternoon, the New York Islanders have still only played 41 games and have two more victories than the Bruins. The Isles are 26-12 with three OTLs – you might point out that the Bruins are 24-8 so fewer losses. I would say, yeah, in any other league or sport than modern NHL; the overtime loss points thing is stupid. A loss is a loss in my book. So the Bruins are 24-19 while the Isles are 26-15. Sure, the Bruins have 4 more points … but who is better? Who has won more? Ok. I digress.
The point is the Boston Bruins – with their 59 points but more losses– have to come into 620 Atlantic Avenue and play extremely well to beat the Isles at home. Heck, maybe they play for another overtime loss.
Home Rink Stats
Yes, the Boston Bruins are netting 3.26 pucks per game and the NY Islanders have slowed down, now averaging 2.88 per clash. But at home, the Islanders still net 3.20, which is right on par with the Bruins 3.28 per game scored while on the road. The Bruins allow 31.67 shots per game while away from Boston and get an average of 2.56 points per game scored on them. The Isles allow just 31.15 shots on goal and give up 2.75 pucks per home affair.
It is unfortunate that Cal Clutterbuck and Adam Pelech are both out because it leaves the right side severely hampered when it comes to depth. If the Islanders were at full strength, I’d say, no problem. Hands down they win this game at home. That said, I think it will be a battle. But the Bruins have literally stayed on top of the Atlantic by losing in overtime. They’ve only won 4 of their last 15 games – this is why I think the OTL points system is garbage. So, and they don’t get any significant time off before facing the Islanders. They are coming off losing three straight and have to head to Nashville to play the Preds on Tuesday. Then Thursday they face Winnipeg at home, before starting another three-game road stretch in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, the Isles get a full three days to ice the bruises and rest up.
For this reason more than any, I think the boys skate out onto their home ice on Saturday and hand the Boston Bruins another loss.
Sure, maybe Boston continues to win their division by losing in extra periods, but the Isles will get another win on Saturday.
Featured Image: Arizona Daily Star