Sunday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights vs. New York Islanders Betting Preview
Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Robin Lehner.
- The New York Islanders host the Vegas Golden Knights in Sunday's NHL action.
- Robin Lehner makes his anticipated return for the Golden Knights, who could get a boost in this matchup.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game below and explains why he's backing Vegas to triumph.
Golden Knights vs. Islanders Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-140|
|Time||2 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Vegas Golden Knights head into UBS Arena for a Sunday matinee with a New York Islanders squad desperate to claw back into the Eastern Conference playoff race.
New York has stabilized of late with a 3-2-0 record and finally posting some wins in its new arena. Here, the Isles will face a stiff challenge here from a Vegas bunch that has posted wins in seven of its last eight now skating at close to 100% health.
This has the look of a potential letdown spot for the Knights at the end of a long East Coast swing. However, the contest will mark a meaningful return for Robin Lehner and could offer a boost to Vegas.
Will the Islanders be able to claim two desperately needed points here from a Vegas group firing on all cylinders?
Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas has proven to be an obvious and easy horse to back of late, proving itself dominant when healthy. The Knights have won seven of their last eight with a 57.30 xGF% and +15 goal differential as they begin a climb toward first place in the Pacific Division.
For me, there aren’t a lot of takes to shake up since Thursday’s contest against New Jersey, against which Vegas put together a strong effort. Another reasonable effort the next night against a strong Rangers squad was huge.
Vegas showed off some of their depth over those two contests, as although Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone finally cooled off, the team saw both their fourth line score meaningful goals. The Knights’ excellent second unit of William Karlsson, Jon Marchessault, and Reilly Smith also broke through for a combined four points.
With Shea Theodore absent Thursday, Dylan Coghlan posted two points against the Devils including a big power-play goal and followed it up with a massive game-tying goal the next night.
It’s easy to see why the Knights were a heavy favorite to win the Pacific entering the season, something I feel is still very playable around the new mark of +160, especially with Jack Eichel waiting in the wings.
Lehner should draw the start here in what will be an emotional return home to a fan base that truly embraced and supported him. He owns a .905 save percentage with a +4.5 Goals Saved Above Expected rating (GSAx) this season, having fought through some tough nights early on while the Knights were heavily depleted.
New York Islanders
New York has gone as one of the league’s greater disappointments this season, and there’s no doubt that it has some valid excuses, whether it’s playing shorthanded or through a 13-game road trip.
With that said, the Islanders still hold just a 49.14 xGF% over their last five. New York has posted the league’s third-worst goals per game mark at 2.16, and it just doesn’t seem that the roster has the offensive talent to swing that mark around significantly going forward.
Offensive production won’t get any easier Sunday, as Matt Barzal will miss the contest on the COVID-19 list, and Kyle Palmieri will likely miss out, as well.
In defense, the Isles have been noticeably poor. They’ve been missing some key players and are still without Ryan Pulock. His absence forces a continued role on the second pairing for Zdeno Chara, and I have to think that Vegas can expose the aging legend here.
Ilya Sorokin has been remarkable in goal and should draw the start here.
Golden Knights vs Islanders Pick
It’s safe to say the Islanders will trend upwards as the season rolls along, but I still feel their current play and roster is a good deal below the standard set by the club the previous two seasons. Especially without Barzal, this team doesn’t deserve to be priced so close to Vegas.
The Islanders have stabilized themselves, but the wins haven’t been particularly impressive. The win over the Senators was down to some absurd saves from Sorokin, then they took down the lowly Devils at home and beat up on the Bruins, who were without two-thirds of the perfection line.
It’s no doubt the square take on this game, but when we look at Vegas’ dominant play of late, I can’t see how it’s not the right one. Playing at close to full strength, the Golden Knights roster is capable of keeping this run going.
I can’t see why they don’t warrant a bet here at -140 odds.
Pick: Vegas (-140 | play to -155)
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