Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. The Islanders are running good but good they are not. The Islanders have won four in a row — most recently a 3-1 game over the Sabres on New Year’s Eve — and seven of their last eight. The Isles have allowed one goal or fewer in five of those eight games. New York has allowed just 99 goals this season, only which is the best mark in the league. The goaltending duties have been a virtual even split between veterans Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner, with each performing admirably. Greiss’ numbers — .917 save percentage, 2.62 goals-against average — are pretty good but Lehner has been even better at .930 and 2.14, respectively. Lehner gets this start.
The above numbers for the Islanders are just one of those anomalies that occur from time to time. The isles are very simply the lickies team in the NHL and it’s not even close. From a high shooting percentage to the opposition not scoring on their high danger chances and everything in-between, the constantly outplayed Islanders misleading everything is in for a correction. Of course, that correction may not come today or even this year but that’s a topic for another time. The bottom line is that the Islanders are a below average team that is priced like an upper tier one and we have to try and take advantage.
For the Blackhawks, a disappointing outcome from Tuesday’s Winter Classic cannot be shaken, but it was another improved performance from a Chicago team that’s still won five of its last seven games and is 6-2-2 in its last 10 games. Collin Delia will start in net for the Blackhawks and this kid is on fire with a 3-0 record to go along with a 1.67 GAA and .957 save percentage since his call-up from the AHL in early December. Furthermore, this game has extra motivation attached. Blackhawks bench boss, Jeremy Colliton, was selected by the Islanders in the second round of the 2003 NHL Draft and he played 57 games spread across five seasons for them. Players are very aware of where coaches and teammates came from and it doesn’t need to be mentioned beforehand when somebody wants to “stick it” to their old team.
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Chicago +153 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.06)