Coyotes vs. Islanders NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will the Goalies Steal the Show? (Jan. 21)
Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Karel Vejmelka
- The Arizona Coyotes are playing decent hockey but are still huge underdogs against the Islanders on Friday night.
- Instead of looking for a side to back in Coyotes-Islanders, Jacob McKenna suggests some value on the Over/Under.
Coyotes vs. Islanders Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Arizona Coyotes continue their four-game road trip on Friday night when they travel to Long Island to take on the Islanders.
Arizona has been far from exceptional this season, but recently the Coyotes have been playing good hockey. Arizona has won three of its last five games, with both of their losses coming against a high-powered Colorado Avalanche squad, and one of those defeats came in the shootout.
The Islanders are another team that has not done anything special, mostly because of COVID ravaging their organization. However, they have appeared to turn things around as well, winning seven of their last 10 games.
Both of these teams sit in last place in their respective divisions, but the Coyotes and Islanders both have plenty of momentum on their side. Will Arizona be able to use that to their advantage and steal another win on the road, or can the Isles continue their stellar play and defend their home ice.
Modest Improvements for the Coyotes
Arizona has not had much to hang their hats on this season. As a team in the rebuilding process, the Coyotes have struggled to compete with many of its opponents, leading to just 10 wins in 38 games.
The biggest issue with this team is their lack of horsepower on the offensive end of the ice. As a team that is generating just 9.35 High Danger Chances per 60 minutes (HDCF/60) in 5-on-5, the Coyotes don’t provide themselves with many chances to score the puck which is a recipe for losses.
That has led to Arizona tanking to the bottom of the NHL in several offensive metrics in 5-on-5 situations. This team finds themselves in the bottom two in Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF/60) with 2.01, and on the season they have managed to score just 66 total goals in 5-on-5.
However, the Coyotes have managed to piece together two solid offensive performances recently, scoring a total of nine goals over the course of their last two games. Believe it or not, two games is the longest win streak Arizona has had this season, which could be a sign that this team is turning things around.
Karel Vejmelka will likely get the start in net, and as of late he has been a great anchor for Arizona. Vejmelka has won three of his last four starts, and in 5-on-5 this season he has and SV % of .921 and -0.9 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
Are the Islanders on the Rise?
COVID-19 has hit the NHL hard within the last few months, but perhaps it has not hit any team harder than the Islanders.
Since Dec. 20, New York has had nine total games postponed. For most teams, that would have thrown off any momentum they had generated. However, the Isles have been climbing over any obstacle in their way and are playing their best hockey of the season.
This team has won five of their last six games and has done so in a dominant fashion. The Isles are outscoring their opponents 18-11 in that span of time, which is a nice surprise considering this team has scored just 49 total goals 1.88 goals per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 this season.
Regardless of if the offense shows up, the defense has been holding many opponents in check and giving the Isles plenty of chances to win games.
New York is giving up just 2.66 goals per game this season, the sixth fewest in the NHL. They’ve also been spectacular in 5-on-5, giving up just 56 total goals and 2.15 goals per 60 minutes.
Ilya Sorokin is expected to start in net, and he has arguably been the biggest reason for the Islanders’ success as of late. In 5-on-5 this year, Sorokin has and SV % of .937 and 8.5 GSAx.
Coyotes vs. Islanders Pick
The Coyotes recent success is promising, but their recent schedule should be taken into consideration.
Arizona’s most recent two wins have come against the Canadiens and the Devils, both of which rank in the bottom six in goals against this season and don’t have great scoring attacks. Furthermore, the Coyotes have averaged just 20 shots on goal in those two games, showing that the offense still hasn’t been able to generate many scoring chances despite leaving with a win.
New York should be able to keep an underwhelming Coyotes offense in check, but I’m not sure they will be able to score many goals in the process. The under has been a great play in Islanders games as of late too, as the total has stayed under 5.5 goals in eight of their last 10.
As a result, I think the under is the best play to target in this matchup, as I don’t see either team producing much on the offensive end of the ice especially if both Sorokin and Vejmelka are in net.
Pick: Total Under 5.5 (-125)
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