Islanders vs. Flames Betting Odds, Prediction, Preview: Can Isles Christen New Arena With Win?
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: New York Islanders standout Anthony Beauvillier.
Islanders vs. Flames Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
It’s a historic day as the New York Islanders host their first home game at the brand new UBS Arena. They take on the Calgary Flames in hopes of sending their fans, who have waited two-plus decades for a new arena, home happy.
After losing to the Flyers 2-1, the Flames took out all their frustration on the Sabres by demolishing them 5-0. Currently sitting near the top of the Pacific Division, the Flames are one of the more talented teams in the league on both ends of the ice.
New York has not had it easy. Starting the season on a 13-game road trip, the beginning seemed fine as they went 5-2-2. However, they lost their last four, and their scoring touch has been nonexistent. The Isles hope a little home cookin’ will be the remedy for their tough stretch in their new digs.
Flames Top Players Producing at Elite Levels
No one really knew what to expect from Calgary coming into this season. Even though they had all the talent in the world, they were still hard to figure out, especially after a disappointing season last year.
So far, their top guys are producing at an elite level. Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm are both averaging over a point a game, and Matthew Tkachuk isn’t that far behind. Young defenseman Oliver Kylington is also solidifying himself as a top blueliner.
With such elite talent up front, the Flames are one of the top teams at driving play. They currently sit in the top 10 in expected goals per 60 minutes with a 2.61 xGF while also generating 146 high danger chances so far. While also being exceptional at 5-on-5, Calgary is a top 10 team on the power play, scoring at a 23.5% rate.
Jacob Markstrom is having a resurgence this year, as well. In his first season in Calgary, the hulking Swede had a disappointing year and Flames fans were worried he could be a bust. However, this year, Markstrom has a top three .942 SV% as well as a 8.8 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx). He also has a league-best five shutouts in 13 games played.
Islanders Can’t Find Any Offense
The Islanders are coming into this game sluggish and limping. Veteran forwards Josh Bailey and captain Anders Lee are in COVID-19 protocol, and top defenseman Ryan Pulock will be out 4-6 weeks. The Isles will be very happy to play in front of their home fans for the first time all season, and they have to hope it will spark this team.
Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, and Anthony Beauvillier have been their top players but the Isles have gotten limited production from the rest of the team.
Offense has never been the Isles’ forte. Defense and structure was always their calling card, however the offense is taking a bigger hit this year. They started out fine, but the last few games, scoring chances have been few and far in between.
Defenses have had an easy time stifling them as they only have created 113 high danger chances (bottom 10), and have a 2.37 xGF per 60 (16th in the league). The powerplay has been invisible as well, scoring at only a 12.5% rate, second-worst in the NHL.
Coach Barry Trotz has an interesting decision to make. He likes to split his goalies, especially when they’re both proven. Ilya Sorokin has managed to take the No. 1 spot so far while Semyon Varlamov nursed an injury. Sorokin has been top notch, posting a .925 SV% and a 2.5 GSAx. His buddy Varlamov has only played three games and posted an .893 SV% and a lowly -1.1 GSAx. If I were to guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trotz went to Varlamov to reward the veteran in the new arena.
Flames vs. Islanders Pick
Betting the Isles in a new arena, in front of fans who have been waiting to cheer them on, seems like a no-brainer.
However, with the Islanders inability to generate scoring, and with Jacob Markstrom playing so well, the Flames are the much better team right now. I’ll take Calgary at even money.
Pick: Calgary Flames at +100
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