NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs Kraken (Thursday, November 16)
Pictured: Bo Horvat. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Islanders vs. Kraken Odds
The Kraken and Islanders entered the season with playoff aspirations, but the campaign has gone poorly for both squads thus far.
Both are looking to get back on track, but they'll be fighting fatigue as well as each other on the second half of their respective back-to-back sets. Let's preview the upcoming contest and offer a Kraken vs. Islanders prediction.
That Islanders' offense being bad is nothing new, but the degree to which it's struggled is. Going into Wednesday's action, New York has averaged 2.36 goals per game this year, which would be fifth-worst mark in franchise history if carried over the whole campaign. That's even more discouraging when considering that New York attempted to address its longstanding scoring issues by acquiring Bo Horvat and promptly signing him to an eight-year, $68-million contract back in February.
Horvat's done fine, providing four goals and 11 points through 13 contests, but he's not playing like a true offensive leader — no one in New York is. In fact, the Islanders lack a single player in the top-50 in scoring. They also have just one player (Brock Nelson) with five goals scored over New York's first 14 contests. To put that into context, the New York Rangers rank 16th offensively with 3.29 goals per game this year, and that middling offense has three players with over five goals. The Canucks, which lead the league in scoring, have five players who have reached that milestone.
It's not just a matter of a lackluster offense, though. Goaltender Ilya Sorokin has also struggled, posting a 3.22 GAA and a .907 save percentage through his first nine starts. He's set to get the nod Wednesday, so Semyon Varlamov is likely to face Seattle. Varlamov did post back-to-back shutouts on Oct. 28 and Nov. 2, but since then, he's surrendered seven goals on 51 shots (.879 save percentage).
Backup Joey Daccord is starting Wednesday for Seattle, so the Kraken are likely to counter Varlamov with Philipp Grubauer, though that likely doesn't help Seattle much. Grubauer has a 3.37 GAA and an .891 save percentage in nine contests. The netminder's struggles are a recurring theme as his save percentage over three campaigns with Seattle is also .891.
Seattle made the playoffs last season because only because its offense was so good and tied for fourth in the league with 3.52 goals per game. This season, the Kraken are with the Islanders near the bottom of the pack in terms of scoring.
The Kraken had six players finish the 2022-23 campaign with at least 20 goals and of them, only Daniel Sprong left over the summer and just Jordan Eberle has missed time due to injury (three games). So, the stage was set for the Kraken to do well again offensively this year, but Eberle and Matty Beniers have both struggled to find the back of the net.
Islanders vs. Kraken
Betting Pick & Prediction
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With both teams struggling, there isn't much of a favorite.
The under (6.5) is tempting given the lackluster offensive production between these teams, but the potential payout of -134 is a little low. I'd rather bet on the Islanders.
Varlamov rebounding after a couple rough outings is reasonable, but Grubauer has been consistently bad, so I like New York more from a goaltending perspective. The Kraken appear to have a bit of a better offense at first glance, but they might also have just been a tad luckier.
Before Wednesday's games, New York actually had a slight edge in terms of 5-on-5 xGF (31.29 against Seattle's 29.96).