January 6, 2017

NHL Hockey Betting: New York Islanders at Colorado Avalanche

NHL Hockey Betting:  New York Islanders at Colorado Avalanche&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The New York Islanders got off to a bad start this season. That’s going to happen even to good teams but for New York there’s two problems. They really haven’t improved beyond the ‘treading water’ stage which is why they’re in last place in the Eastern Conference at 15-15-6 with 36 points. A bigger problem is that the top half of their division is playing so well–Columbus, Pittsburgh, the NY Rangers and Washington all have 50+ points. The Islanders are already 22 points back of first place Columbus and even though they haven’t played *that* badly they’re just about out of contention for a playoff spot.

Their struggles h ave been nothing like those of the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs have the worst record in the NHL and enter this game having lost 5 straight and 9 of 10. They’ve actually been worse at home than on the road. Away from Denver they’re 8-12-0. On their home ice, they’re a pitiful 4-13-1 and that’s the worst home ice record in hockey. The Avs haven’t done well at anything. They’re #30 in goals per game (2.0), #30 in goals against per game (3.4), #28 in power play percentage (13.3) and #25 on the penalty kill (77.9). Making it even more inexplicable is that they’ve got talent–at least on offense. In fact, their top two lines are pretty solid with Matt Duchene, Nathan Mackinnon, Jarome Iginla, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and Rene Bourque. Their defense and goaltending has been awful but they’ve been without starter Semyon Varlamov for much of the season and Calvin Pickard is starting to wear down. Pickard will get the start here against the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss.

At some point, the Avalanche almost *have* to start scoring more goals. That’s a lot of offensive talent on hand and with their porous defense they really have nothing to lose from playing a more wide open style. The Islanders would be a perfect foe to get into a ‘run and gun’ battle–NY has gone ‘Over’ in 9 of 10. But Colorado has won only 2 of their last 13 games and at this point are just ‘unbettable’. Maybe they’ll show some degree of improvement after Varlamov returns to action and assuming that their offense starts to put some pucks in the net. For now, however, we have to go against them.