NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs. Sharks (Feb. 24)
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Timo Meier
- The Sharks host the Islanders on Thursday night as slight underdogs.
- The Sharks have been slumping recently, but is this a spot to buy low on them at home at plus-money?
- Our analyst breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Islanders vs. Sharks Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
An inter-conference matchup commences as the San Jose Sharks host the New York Islanders. It’ll be the final time both teams face off as the Sharks won in overtime in December, 2-1.
After two consecutive final four appearances, the Islanders seem to be running out of gas. Even after a convincing win in Seattle, New York is 4-5-1 in its last 10 games and unlikely to reach a playoff spot.
San Jose is riding a major struggle bus at the moment. Currently winless in the month of February, the Sharks are also 1-5-4 in their last 10. The Sharks were making a push to be a surprise team in the playoff hunt, but this recent stretch has hurt their chances.
Islanders Offense Looking for Answers
What a rough season it’s been on Long Island. From opening the season on a 13-game road trip, to the multiple injuries and Covid delays, I think it’s safe to say the Islanders are going to put this season in the rearview. They’ve done the best they can and have gotten good production out of the likes of Mat Barzal, Brock Nelson, and Noah Dobson, but it hasn’t been enough.
The Islanders were never an offensive team by any means, but they historically would at least have some scoring touch. This year, the team has been invisible on the offensive end. They currently have an Expected Goals per 60 of 2.1 – good enough for 27th and are ranked 21st in High Danger Chances created. With the man advantage, they only score at an 18.6% rate, which could be better. However, given the offensive struggles they have, this number isn’t as bad as it could be.
On the defensive side of things, it hasn’t been much different than years past. New York is ranked third in Goals Allowed and eighth in High Danger Chances Allowed.
Ilya Sorokin has taken on the brunt work as of late, especially with Semyon Varlamov out of commission a few times. Sorokin has been great this year with a .921 SV% and a +1.5 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). Varlamov, who just came off Covid protocol, is posting a .916 SV% and a -0.9 GSAx. Since Sorokin has started eight games in a row, I would think Varlamov gets a shot in this matchup, but it’s worth keeping tabs on.
Sharks Looking for Momentum
After a promising start to the season, the San Jose Sharks have not been playing their best hockey. They’ve been hit with some injuries as they’re missing Kevin Labanc, Nikolai Knyzhov, Erik Karlsson, and potentially Adin Hill.
However, San Jose has managed to get good production out of its players. Timo Meier is an All Star, Tomas Hertl is a bonafide top-six winger, and vets Logan Couture and Brent Burns are carrying their load as well.
While their counterparts aren’t great at driving play, the Sharks aren’t much better. They currently have an Expected Goals per 60 of 2.09 which is 29th, but are eighth in High Danger Chances Created. On the man advantage, they’re a notch better than the Islanders, as they score on the Power Play at an 18.9% clip.
Defensively, they’re about middle-of-the-pack. They currently are 17th in High Danger Chances Allowed as well as 20th in Goals Allowed.
With Hill possibly out with an injury, James Reimer is expected to get the nod in this matchup. The veteran has had a solid season with a .912 SV% and a 3.5 GSAx. There’s always a chance that if Hill is still out, rookie Zach Sawchenko could get some action. He’s performed well in the two games he’s played. However, I don’t see coach Bob Boughner leaning that way.
Islanders vs. Sharks Pick
While San Jose has been struggling majorly, they’re on the brink of ending their skid. The Islanders are an incredibly inconsistent team, and if Varlamov takes the net, he could be rusty. The Sharks have something to prove, and if they want to make one more playoff push, this game could make or break their season.
Pick: San Jose Sharks ML (+100)