NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blues vs. Islanders (March 5)
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Binnington
Blues vs. Islanders Odds
|Time||12:30 p.m. ET|
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In what has become quite an underwhelming season in New York, the Islanders’ late third-period collapse Thursday against the Canucks could be a final nail in the coffin to their faint postseason hopes.
They will have no easy task getting their defensive play back in line, as they play host to a St. Louis team skating one of the league’s offensive units this season.
Can the Blues compound the Islanders’ recent struggles?
Blues Offense in Rhythm
The potent Blues offense looked dangerous yet again last time out playing against a Rangers team that has been tough to score on at MSG, and the Expected Goals score from the contest felt low for St. Louis. Next to nobody is outscoring the expected rate on Igor Shesterkin, but the Blues managed to do so by 0.92 goals in that contest.
The Blues’ talented top nine have appeared to be a notably above average unit at forcing goalies to move. The unit has several above average finishers and sits third in Goals Scored Above Expected this season at +26.51.
The offense has continued to hum over the Blues’ last eight contests, producing a 4.25 goal per game average. This has driven the Blues to a 6-1-1 record in that time with a +14 Goal Differential.
St. Louis’ game has appeared much sharper analytically of late as well, with an excellent Expected Goals Rate of 60.83 % over that eight-game span. A relatively easy schedule has helped, but this is still impressive.
Jordan Binnington seems likely to start here and is looking to continue crawling his way back into the starting role after two great starts.
My belief is that Binnington was never as awful as he looked during a stretch of sporadic starts coming against stiff competition. Those games featured some awful defensive performances from the Blues, and I expect just-below-average play moving forward from Binnington.
Binnington holds a -7.1 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .904 Save % in 26 games this season.
Islanders Defense Downtrodden
The Islanders held a 3-2 lead midway through the third but ultimately claimed zero points against the Canucks on Thursday. This is indicative of how difficult generating a single goal against Boarry Trotz’s group has seemed for much of his tenure.
Over the last 10 games, the Islanders have allowed 3.50 Goals Against per game on average. That’s a big concern for a group not skating much offensive talent right now, especially should Matt Barzal remain sidelined again for this one.
New York has played to a respectable 51.08 Expected Goals Rate over that time, so it does appear that they could fare better moving forward. However, it does seem that recent play has had more hiccups than that reasonable number suggests.
Ilya Sorokin figures to start here, and he has been solid again this season with a .922 Save Percentage and a 2.42 Goals Against per game average.
Blues vs. Islanders Pick
New York hasn’t been as poor altogether as its recent record indicates, and my thoughts on this one revolve more around where I feel this Blues group is at right now rather than the Islanders’ struggles – especially if the Islanders continue to receive average net-minding.
St. Louis has posted some excellent play of late, and its talented offensive unit will cause problems yet again tomorrow against a New York team that simply hasn’t been at the level we are used to defensively.
Altogether I am surprised to see this game priced this closely with the Blues opening at -135, and I see value playing St. Louis down to -150 as the Blues look to continue a tremendous run of play.
Pick: St. Louis Blues Moneyline -135