Islanders vs. Blackhawks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Two Very Different Teams Meet in Chicago (October 19)

Islanders vs. Blackhawks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Two Very Different Teams Meet in Chicago (October 19) article feature image

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Zdeno Chara, JG Pageau

Islanders vs. Blackhawks Odds

Islanders Odds-125
Blackhawks Odds+105
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

A pair of winless clubs will look to get their seasons moving in the right direction on Tuesday night as the New York Islanders visit the United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Isles come into this one on the heels of two sloppy losses to fellow Eastern Conference contenders Carolina and Florida, and they still have 11 more road games on their season-opening journey while their new arena gets ready.

The Blackhawks have just one point through three games, but will get the chance to play at home for the first time this season.

Both of these clubs have been poor in a tiny sample, but which one of them is more likely to continue to struggle over the course of the season?

New York Islanders

After losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in back-to-back Conference Semifinals, the Islanders entered this season as legitimate Cup Contenders.

For me, New York's biggest strengths and playing style under coach Barry Trotz don't lend themselves well to an 82-game schedule, but we can still safely bank on this team getting back to the postseason where they can make noise again.

Two poor games doesn't change the fact that the Isles brought back almost all the key pieces from last season's roster, including two quality goalies in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov.

While the Islander defense gets a lot of the credit, the offense is quite deep as well. Quite simply, this is a very well constructed roster.

Barry Trotz's teams have always been excellent at bouncing back from losses, so expect a focused effort from a group that does not want to start the season 0-3.

Chicago Blackhawks

It's been a frightening opening three games for Hawks fans, not just because they are 0-2-1, but also because they've been dominated at 5-on-5, skating to a 32.08% expected goal rate. Throw in that Chicago's two big offseason acquisitions, Marc-Andre Fleury and Seth Jones, have struggled and you can understand why some folks in Chicago are uneasy.

A few months removed from the Vezina Trophy, Fleury owns an .826 save percentage and a -3.6 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx). He was pulled in his last start — which happened to come against his former team, the Penguins — and will need to snap into form quickly if the Hawks want to be in the mix for a playoff spot.

Chicago allowed the seventh-most goals against leaguewide last season and struggled to prevent high-danger scoring chances, so even though it isn't worth reading into three game's worth of data, the fact that the Blackhawks have conceded 13 goals in three games this season shows that the defensive weaknesses may still be there.

Islanders vs. Blackhawks  Pick

My thinking here doesn't revolve around a belief that a Cup Contender like the Islanders are "due" for a win simply because they have lost two in a row, however as I noted Trotz's teams are usually terrific at bouncing back.

Instead, I am backing the Islanders because I think they are a considerably stronger team compared to the Blackhawks — especially on the back-end, where newcomers Jake McCabe, Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury are struggling.

Couple that with the Blackhawks treacherous underlying metrics so far, and there is some legitimate reason for concern albeit over a minuscule sample size of just three games.

I am not overly concerned for the Isles after their opening losses at Carolina and Florida, as this roster has proven itself and I think it's pretty easy to chalk that up to the natural ebbs and flows playing back-to-back games against strong teams in a very competitive league.

I think there is some value with backing the Islanders moneyline at -120 and would do so to -135.

The Pick: New York Islanders -135 or better

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