NHL Odds, Picks: Islanders vs. Blue Jackets Prediction & Preview (Friday, March 24)
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Cal Clutterbuck (15) and the New York Islanders.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets host the New York Islanders in Friday night NHL action.
- The Isles enter this matchup as big favorites, but Nick Martin has found another way to back them.
- Check out Martin's full betting preview and picks for Friday's Blue Jackets vs. Islanders game below.
Islanders vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+205|
|Over/Under||6.5 o-102 / u-120)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Islanders head to Nationwide Arena for a crucial showdown with the Blue Jackets on Friday. Claiming two points would improve its playoff chances to 89%, while a loss would drop its chances to 75%, according to MoneyPuck.
New York is priced at -230 to win this game, making it as big a favorite as it’s been in any matchup this season.
New York Islanders
New York has gone on a 9-3-1 tear toward the postseason and is now in all likelihood going to secure a playoff berth despite a midseason hiccup.
That proves a ton of doubters, such as myself, entirely wrong and is surely satisfying for Isles faithful.
Many felt the loss of Mathew Barzal could be somewhat of a death blow to an offense that had the potential to be extremely stale. Over the last 13 games, however, New York has managed to put up 3.38 goals per game and has played to a very strong 53.4% xGF rating throughout that span.
Brock Nelson left Tuesday’s big win over Toronto after an awkward collision along the wall but is expected to be in the lineup for tonight’s matchup.
Ilya Sorokin is projected as the Islanders’ likely starter but will definitely sit in one of the Isles’ back-to-back matchups this weekend.
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Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus’ current roster is lacking any kind of meaningful two-way forward and is regularly giving big minutes to a number of defenders who are getting caved in badly at even strength.
The team’s shaky defensive play is in no way helping to cover up for what has become one of the league’s worst goaltending duos. Over the last month of action, the Blue Jackets have allowed 4.91 goals per game.
Its 3.93 xGA/60 is second-worst in the league over that sample, but it does suggest some improvement may be on the horizon.
However, opponents are always likely to outscore expectations considering Columbus’ net minders. That point should hold especially true on nights like tonight when 33-year-old journeyman Michael Hutchinson takes the crease.
Hutchinson has played to an .875 save percentage and -2.7 GSAx in six NHL appearances this season. He also owns an .897 save percentage in the AHL in 2022-23.
Patrik Laine was injured in Columbus’ win over Washington on Tuesday and is out for tonight’s contest.
Islanders vs. Blue Jackets Pick
Columbus has consistently had a difficult time defending this season, and it seems unlikely that a big improvement is on the horizon with only 10 games left.
Hutchinson is arguably the worst goaltending option Columbus has used this season, and the Blue Jackets will need a significantly better-than-average defensive performance to keep New York under four goals in this matchup.
This -125 number for New York to go over 3.5 goals is very playable, and I would play that price down to -135.
Kirill Marchenko to record over 2.5 shots on goal at +110 is also a great price in this matchup. Marchenko has continued to display improved form as his rookie season progresses, and he now becomes the No. 1 shooting option on the Jackets’ top power-play unit with Laine sidelined.
Marchenko has gone over 2.5 shots on goal in four of his last six matchups while averaging 3.33 shots on target, which makes sense considering his playing style and role on the team.
Pick: Islanders TT Over 3.5 (-125) · Kirill Marchenko Over 2.5 Shots on Goal
Pick: Islanders TT Over 3.5
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