NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Anaheim Ducks vs. New York Islanders (October 15)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Ilya Sorokin.
- The Islanders host the Ducks in an early-season NHL contest.
- New York got off to a slow start at home last season and is hoping to avoid a repeat this time around.
- Nick Martin previews the game and shares his best bet below.
Ducks vs. Islanders Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Islanders 0-4-3 start at home last season was a massive part of why they eventually missed the playoffs in a very disappointing season that led to Barry Trotz's dismissal as head coach.
New York suffered a tough season opening loss to the Florida Panthers, but will see a far better opportunity to get some points on the board Saturday as the Islanders are listed as heavy favorites over the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
Will New York take advantage of this favorable spot and get the 2022-23 season moving in the right direction?
Anaheim put together a stunning comeback and came away with a 5-4 overtime win over the Seattle Kraken in its season opener.
The fact that the Ducks never quit fighting was really the main takeaway from the contest — along with the powerplay and the play of netminder John Gibson. In actuality, Anaheim was outplayed and the game finished with an expected goals score of 2.36-5.02.
At five-on-five Anaheim played to an xGF% of just 28.63 — a truly shocking number — and it certainly looked as bad to the eye.
Putting aside a one game sample size, I believe the Ducks' roster holds some notable flaws and is still aways out from really pushing for a playoff berth.
Dmitry Kulikov and Jamie Drysdale struggled on opening night and played to a 28.4% expected goals rating as a pair.
Drysdale obviously holds some serious upside as top-four defender this season, but we have seen Kulikov struggle for years and I believe that pair is still a weakness overall.
However, that duo fared significantly better than Anaheim's bottom defensive pairing of Kevin Shattenkirk and Nathan Beaulieu, who played to an xGF% of 1.7, and were out attempted 16-4 at even strength. I believe those two aging veterans will consistently struggle at five-on-five this season.
A bounce-back season from Gibson would be a massive boost to any hopes of a surprise playoff berth and he was far more solid than the four goals against would typically suggest. He stopped 44-of-48 shots faced and finished with a +1.03 goals saved above expected rating.
New York Islanders
Moral victories might not go far for the Islanders faithful, who are fully aware of what a poor start to the season can do after it essentially eliminated the team from postseason contention in the opening quarter of last season.
However, the Islanders opening night contest against the Panthers did look to be a very solid effort.
The Islanders won the expected goals battle, 4.39-3.34, and outshot the Panthers, 33-29.
If the Islanders avoid a mess of penalties in this contest we'll likely see them able to control far more of the play at five-on-five. New York will likely be able to limit the Ducks bottom three units to little in the way of chances Ilya Sorokin can't handle.
Sorokin made a solid start against Florida and we can safely assume he will draw the start here as New York looks to collect its first win of the campaign.
Sorokin played to a .925 save % throug 52 games last year, posted a stellar +12.8 GSAx rating and is without question a top-10 goalie in the league.
Ducks vs. Islanders Pick
One of the single most important factors in handicapping — if not the most important — is evaluating what should have happened, not what did happen.
That's how we avoid overrating sides due to actual results, which is a particularly important notion in a sport like hockey, where puck-luck from game to game gives a heavy element of randomness.
So, although Anaheim is 1-0 and New York is 0-1, I would firmly argue the Islanders' performance was more impressive.
New York is priced as heavy favorites in this spot, but at +140 I feel we have the right price to back a comfortable win at home on Saturday night.
Pick:New York Islanders -1.5 +140 (Play to +130)