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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Islanders (Dec. 4)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Islanders (Dec. 4) article feature image
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Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images. Pictured: Ilya Sorokin

Red Wings vs. Islanders Odds

Islanders Odds -120
Red Wings Odds +100
Over/Under 5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The New York Islanders will head in to Detroit looking to snap a nine-game losing streak, against an upstart Red Wings bunch on a 4-game heater themselves. Detroit is still holding on to a surprising playoff berth past the season’s quarter way mark.

The struggling Islanders opening as a -115 road favorite here against a Red Wings team that has posted an 8-2-2 record at home this season may look puzzling to some. Now that the Islanders are skating closer to full strength again, are they deserving of such a number?

New York Islanders

It has truly been a nightmare start to the season for the Islanders. They have played poorly but also had some tough puck-luck and horrific injury/COVID situations. They find themselves facing an uphill climb (27% chance according to our friends at MoneyPuck) to reach the postseason.

The Islanders’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Sharks on Thursday also moved them to 0-3 past regulation and 0-3 in one-goal games as they just can’t seem to catch a break this season.

Coach Barry Trotz’s historically resilient group will have a great chance to make up some ground the next two weeks as they skate through a soft schedule and will look desperately to get things moving in the right direction Saturday night in Detroit.

We can throw a lot of the recent numbers out the window considering how heavily depleted the lineup was, but even a poor-but-not-awful Expected Goals Rate of 48.44% in the month of November still suggests that a nine-game losing streak was far from likely.

To see the team has shot 3.85% over 5-on-5 play the last 10 times out is far from surprising but certainly is an unsustainably low mark going forward. Expecting some positive regression and in turn winning some close games is logical.

Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson are both massive losses, however, and will remain out for the contest Saturday night.

Ilya Sorokin has been nothing short of spectacular this season and was again strong in stopping 33 of 35 shots faced Thursday vs San Jose.

It seems like an obvious decision for Trotz to go back to him here over a strong secondary option in Semyon Varlamov. The team simply needs to worry about winning the game in hand for the time being rather than anything else, and Sorokin’s form offers them the best chance to do so.

Sorokin has posted a +5.9 Goals Saved Above Expected rating, with a .929 Save % so far throughout 14 games.

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit has posted a surprisingly strong record and holds the 12th spot in the NHL’s overall standings after two more wins this week over the Bruins and Kraken extended their winning streak to four games.

However, over those four contests, the team has only controlled play to an Expected Goals share of 48.02%, and I felt that 2-0 record in the back-to-back against the Bruins and Kraken was certainly quite generous given their play.

As has been the case for most teams, every reasonable chance against the Kraken seemed to go in the net for Detroit, and the Wings managed 2.13 Goals Above Expected in the contest to claim an overtime victory.

Detroit is certainly far better than last season because of the unreal play seen from two leading Calder Trophy candidates in Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. However, it is still surprising to see these kind of results from a roster with some notable holes.

Alek Nedeljkovic has been spectacular as well and looks to be another savvy addition from GM Steve Yzerman. Nedeljkovic has stopped stopped .923 % of shots faced, with a +3.3 GSAx rating across 15 games this season and should likely draw the start at home Saturday night.

Islanders vs. Red Wings Pick

As we’ve seen recently (with NHL bye weeks of recent years and teams facing COVID postponements last season), breaks of six days or longer have traditionally been very tough on teams in their first time back out.

The Islanders fought through that respectably in Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss, but  the time for excuses has simply run out for Barry Trotz’s group should they hope to return to the postseason.

I think this is a good spot to back an Islanders team that is beyond due for a win and better results to break through against the Red Wings. Detroit will certainly finish well below their currently 12th place in the NHL standings by the end of the year as they have been lucky to claim all four wins over their winning streak.

The records won’t indicate such, but I think the Islanders hold some strong value at -115 to snap the Wings’ winning streak here and get their season moving in the right direction. I would play theIslanders down to -130 here.

Pick: New York Islanders -115 (Play to -130)

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