NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs. Oilers

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs. Oilers article feature image

Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders.

  • The New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers meet in Thursday night NHL action.
  • The Islanders enter this matchup as short underdogs, despite taking the previous game of this series.
  • Check out Carol Schram's full betting preview and pick for Islanders vs. Oilers below.

Islanders vs. Oilers Odds

Islanders Odds+136
Oilers Odds-166
Over/Under6.5 (-102 / -120)
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Both on the playoff bubble in their respective conferences, the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers both have plenty of incentive to chase points when they meet at Rogers Place on Thursday night.

At 22-15-2, the Islanders are 1-1-0 on their western road trip so far and are coming off an impressive 6-2 win over the Canucks on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Oilers are 20-17-2 and have lost their last two games.

These teams do have history, although those heated Stanley Cup meetings in the 1980s are now a long way back in the rearview mirror.

Read on for the latest on both squads, along with your best bet for Thursday's game.

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New York Islanders

In their first season under new head coach Lane Lambert, the Islanders haven't strayed very far from the Barry Trotz playbook. They're giving up just 2.67 goals per game — sixth-best in the league — and their penalty kill is in the top 10.

However, their 5-on-5 play is not as sharp as you might expect; they're controlling 49.02% of expected goals, which ranks 22nd.

Offensively, they're producing a solid 3.23 goals per game, with Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson each delivering about a point a game. The power play is not great at 19% and recently went through an eight-game drought. But there are signs of life, as New York has scored with the man advantage in two of its last three games.

Of course, the strongest characteristic of this year's Islanders squad is its rock-solid goaltending. At 19.1 goals saved above expected, Ilya Sorokin is in the conversation for the 2023 Vezina Trophy. Semyon Varlamov has also been delivering excellent results in net, with an 8-3-1 record and .919 save percentage.

Varlamov has just returned to the roster after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. Forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Palmieri are also on the injured list but are with the team on the road trip and getting close to returning.

Defenseman Adam Pelech and forwards Oliver Wahlstrom and Simon Holmstrom are also sidelined and did not make the trip.

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are locked into a tight race for a playoff spot. They're currently sitting in the second wild-card position in the Western Conference, with just four points separating Seattle, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado.

Edmonton has given up ground over the last few days with a pair of home losses. The Oilers dropped a tight 2-1 decision to Winnipeg on New Year's Eve, then watched a 2-0 lead over Seattle turn into a 5-2 loss on Tuesday.

After being a steady anchor in net for most of the season, Stuart Skinner was pulled late in the second period of Tuesday's contest after giving up four goals on 20 shots.

It looks like the move was mostly for rest purposes. He had been carrying a very heavy workload, starting 15 of Edmonton's last 18 games, and it's being reported that he'll be back in net to face the Islanders on Thursday.

For the year, Skinner's record is two games above .500, while he boasts a .914 save percentage and 2.8 goals saved above expected.

But of course, Edmonton's primary calling card is its offense. In a now-familiar configuration, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl lead the NHL's points parade, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman are also producing more than a point a game.

A big part of that comes from the Oilers' league-leading power play, which is clicking at 32.1%. And in terms of expected goals share at 5-on-5, Edmonton is slightly ahead of New York at 50.11%.

Still, the Oilers are vulnerable on the back end. They're allowing an average of 3.36 goals per game and succeeding on just 72.9% of their penalty-kill situations.

Other than their long-term injuries, including Evander Kane, the Oilers are currently healthy.

Islanders vs. Oilers Pick

The Islanders are on one of their biggest road trips of the season and will be playing their third game in five nights on Thursday. Then, it's straight on to Calgary on Friday.

Expect to see Lambert split his goalie duties — although he may use his star Sorokin against the high-powered Oilers and give Varlamov his first start since Dec. 17 against the Flames.

Sorokin had a big night when the Oilers visited UBS Arena back in November, making 49 saves to give the Islanders a 3-0 shutout win.

With that in mind — and with the Islanders also on the upswing offensively while the Oilers have slid into a bit of a funk — the road dogs are looking like an appealing betting option here, especially at the significant plus-money that's being offered.

Back the Islanders to sweep their season series against the Oilers.

Pick: Islanders ML (+135 · Play to +120)

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