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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bruins vs. Islanders (February 17)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bruins vs. Islanders (February 17) article feature image
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Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman.

  • The Boston Bruins hit the road for Thursday's short trip south to face the New York Islanders.
  • The Bruins are still missing suspended standout Brad Marchand, but that hasn't stopped Jacob McKenna from backing the visiting side.
  • Check out below why he likes Boston as a live underdog.

Bruins vs. Islanders Odds

Bruins Odds +100
Islanders Odds -115
Over/Under 5.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Boston Bruins continue their four-game road trip Thursday when they travel to Long Island to take on the New York Islanders.

Boston enters this matchup having won just four of its last 10 games, but still sits in fourth in the Atlantic Division with an overall 27-16-4 record. In contrast, the Islanders find themselves in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 17-20-6 this season.

Neither Boston nor New York has performed well of late, but one of them will surely turn things around in this contest. Will that be the Islanders, playing in front of their home crowd, or will the Bruins bounce back after their loss Tuesday and grab the road win?

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins are currently sitting in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, which is the result of being in a loaded Atlantic Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, even as the fourth squad in their division, the Bruins have put together a solid season up to this point, highlighted by their play on the defensive end of the ice.

In 5-on-5 situations, Boston has posted an incredible 2.02 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA/60), which leads the NHL by a rather significant margin. The Bruins have also given up the fewest High Danger Chances per 60 minutes in similar situations with 8.66, showing that generating scoring chances against this squad is no easy task.

The offense has lagged behind though, as the Bruins are scoring just 2.3 goals per 60 minutes and have scored 87 total goals in 5-on-5 situations, two categories in which Boston ranks in the bottom half of the league. Their lack of horsepower on offense has been on display within the last week too, scoring just five goals in their last four games.

To make matters worse, Brad Marchand, who leads the Bruins with 49 points, is still serving a suspension and will not play. This team has only scored three goals since Marchand has been out, indicating that Boston doesn’t have many answers in his absence.

New York Islanders

The Islanders have won just three of their last 10 games, with the most recent defeat coming at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. In that game, New York was outshot, 41-33, and surrendered a total six goals, both of which are a good summary of their play of late.

In their last 10 games, the Islanders have seen significant regression in their defensive play, which has been great for a majority of the season.

In the 43 games they have played up to this point, New York has posted just 2.26 goals against per 60 minutes in 5-on-5, the 11th-best mark in the league. However, in their last 10 games that number has soared to 2.85, which shows their increased vulnerability on that end of the ice.

Furthermore, this is a scoring attack that hasn’t been able to get much done for most of the season too, scoring just 72 total goals in 5-on-5 and posting 2.36 Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF/60). To see New York’s defensive numbers take a hit is concerning, especially when it isn’t able to consistently find a rhythm on the offensive end of the ice.

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Bruins vs. Islanders Pick

Both teams need to get some momentum back and find the win column. However, only one team is going to be able to do so in this contest and I believe it will be the Bruins on the road.

The absence of Marchand has clearly played a role in Boston’s recent struggles, but luckily for the club, Patrice Bergeron will be back on the ice after missing the last three games. He’s third in points (35) this season, so his return will provide some nice reinforcements.

In addition, this is team that has a 12-6-3 road record. And in those games, the Bruins find themselves inside the top seven in the NHL in both xGF/60 (2.65) and goals against per 60 minutes (1.92) this season.

Ilya Sorokin is the expected starter in net for the Islanders, who has surrendered 12 total goals in his last three starts. I think Boston will be able to sneak a few goals past him in this meeting, continuing its stellar play on the defensive end of the ice against a weak scoring attack.

Pick: Boston ML (+100)

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