New York Islanders (+131) at Nashville Predators (-145, 5.5 o/u)
Two teams in need of a bounce-back game will meet tonight as the New York Islanders (41-21-3, 85 pts) travel to Tennessee to meet the Nashville Predators (41-17-7, 89 pts) at Bridgestone Arena (8:00 p.m. Eastern).
Nashville, erstwhile owners of the best record in the NHL, have dropped four games in a row and have now been eclipsed by the Anaheim Ducks in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. Nashville has also seen its lead at the top of the Central Division dwindle to just four points over St. Louis, which has two games in hand.
On Tuesday, the Preds fell 3-1 to the middling Devils, despite outshooting New Jersey 34-23. After a sloppy start, Nashville found itself down 2-0 less than four minutes into the game.
“I thought the key to the game was the first period and getting behind again,” Predator’s center Mike Fisher said after the loss. “We have to play catch-up every night. The first period is killing us. There’s no excuse for it. We have to be better than that.”
Luckily for the Preds, they return home tonight, where they are an NHL-best 26-5-1 on the year. They will also be facing an Islanders squad going through some tumult of its own, losing its last two and four of six.
The Islanders started their current four-game road trip off on with a 3-2 OT loss to Dallas. New York scored on a lucky bounce with two seconds left on the clock to force the extra frame. But coach Jack Capuano thinks his team got what it deserved.
“Even if we didn’t get the break with 1-point-whatever seconds left, we deserved the point,” said Capuano. “We played hard. It’s a good point for us here against a good team.”
Like Nashville, New York has seen its division lead evaporate over the past ten days. The Isles are tied with the Rangers at the top of the Metropolitan Division, but the Rangers have two games in hand.
Looking at the odds, the Isles are +131 in the moneyline, while the Predators are -145. Nashville has won seven of the last ten head-to-head, though New York thumped Nashville 5-2 last time they met despite being modest -118 home favorites.
(Photo credit: Sean Russell (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode].)