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Penguins vs. Islanders Series Betting Odds, Preview: Great Offense Meets Terrific Defense


Brad Penner, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kris Letang, Scott Mayfield

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins are -145 favorites over the New York Islanders in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.
  • Michael Leboff breaks down the odds and analyzes a matchup between a great offense and a sturdy defense.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders Series Betting Odds

  • Penguins odds: -145
  • Islanders odds: +125

This is an interesting series featuring a clash of styles. The market has been out on the Isles all season, so it’s not surprising that Pittsburgh is one of two road teams (St. Louis is the other) to be favored in Round 1.

The New York Islanders were not expected to be in the postseason. Not only did the Islanders have one of the worst defenses in NHL history, but they lost one of the league’s best players, John Tavares, in the offseason and didn’t replace him.

Expectations were low, but Barry Trotz got this team to buy into his well-structured style and the Islanders allowed the fewest goals against in the NHL in 2018-19.

It was a remarkable achievement and the Islanders, thanks to their dogged style, will not be an easy out in a best-of-7 series.

Neither will the Penguins, who are just two seasons removed from winning back-to-back Stanley Cups and have the one of the greatest players ever. The Pens were a bit helter-skelter this season, but the dips were mostly due to injuries and inconsistent goaltending.

Under the hood, things have looked solid all season for Pittsburgh and the Pens seem to peaking at the right time.

In terms of style, these two teams are very different. The Islanders try and keep games predictable, manageable and succeed in low-event games. The Penguins play at a higher pace and have no issues letting their skill take over in goal-fests.

While the Isles are a defense-first team, they do create scoring chances. Barry Trotz preaches a quality-over-quantity philosophy and the Islanders have made good on that word, ranking in the top 10 in high-danger scoring chances created.

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