NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs. Penguins (February 20)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs. Penguins (February 20) article feature image

Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

  • The Penguins host the Islanders in a matchup of Eastern Conference teams tied with 63 points.
  • Both teams are coming off losses and will need to get back in the win column as they continue their push to the postseason.
  • Carol Schram previews the game and offers up her best bet below.

Islanders vs. Penguins Odds

Islanders Odds+110
Penguins Odds-130
Over/Under6 (-110/-110)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

A crucial battle for Eastern Conference playoff positioning is going down on Monday when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders.

The teams are tied with 63 points and hold down the two Wild Card spots in the East — but as many as five other clubs are nipping at their heels.

With two important points up for grabs, here's the latest on both sides, and your best bet for the game.

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New York Islanders

After their blockbuster acquisition of Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks, the Islanders came out of the All Star break with back-to-back wins. Since then, they've won just one of five — but that was on home ice against the Penguins last Friday, when they came back from a 4-2 deficit to secure a 5-4 win in regulation.

Mat Barzal got hurt Saturday and there's no update on his status as of Sunday, but if he can't go against Pittsburgh, he'll be joining forwards Josh Bailey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the injured list. The Islanders did call up 24-year-old winger Arnaud Durandeau from their AHL affiliate on Sunday. He has been hot offensively of late, and if he suits up in Pittsburgh, he'll be making his NHL debut.

Ilya Sorokin got the win against the Penguins last Friday, then backed up Semyon Varlamov on Saturday. Sorokin is ranked second in the NHL with 28 goals saved above expected this season, and it's likely he'll get the nod for Monday's game.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Goaltender Tristan Jarry has played just two games since January 2 as he was sidelined first with an lower-body injury, and now with an upper-body one. That's been an issue for the Penguins, who are 8-7-3 since Jarry first went down.

Casey DeSmith has been carrying most of the load, but he's 10-12-4 for the year, and has just 0.5 goals saved above expected. He served as a backup in the Penguins' 5-2 loss to New Jersey on Saturday, so he should be back between the pipes to face the Islanders on Monday.

Outside of the crease, the Penguins are playing their usual brand of solid, responsible hockey. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have both been healthy all year and are leading the team in scoring. Kris Letang is also back in the lineup and has assists in back-to-back games.

Islanders vs. Penguins Pick

Though the Penguins and Islanders are tied in the standings, Pittsburgh has four games in hand. As such, the home side carries a much better points percentage at the moment: .573 vs. .534 for the Islanders.

And while Jarry's absence looms large, the injuries on New York's side are even more concerning, especially if Barzal remains out of action.

The Islanders do hold the edge in goaltending and they're up 2-0 in the season series, having also earned a 5-1 win at UBS Arena back on Dec. 27.

But the Penguins are strong on home ice with a 15-7-4 record this year. And after letting those two points slip away on Long Island last week, they'll be looking to exact a measure of revenge on Monday night.

Don't expect a blowout, but the Penguins should be a solid bet on the moneyline.

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