The New York Islanders drive down to Madison Square Garden to face their cross-town rivals the New York Rangers on Friday night. It’s time to continue our NHL odds series with an Islanders-Rangers prediction and pick.
The Islanders completed a home-and-home sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-2 win on Thursday night. New York jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period before surrendering two goals in the second. Ultimately, Kyle Palmieri broke the game open with his 12th goal on the season, firing a shot past Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins. Subsequently, the Islanders would finish off with two empty-net goals by Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock to seal the victory. Furthermore, it was the second time this week that the Islanders defeated the Blue Jackets.
The Rangers rallied from behind to take down the Detroit Red Wings in a thrilling 5-4 overtime winner on Wednesday night. After falling three times, the Rangers tied it toward the end of the third period on a power-play goal from Chris Kreider, his 46th goal of the season. Therefore, the game needed extra time. In the extra period, Artemi Panarin found an open Andrew Kopp who fired it in for the game-winning goal. The Rangers came away with two points. Hence, the Rangers are five points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Metropolitan Division entering today’s game.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Islanders-Rangers NHL odds:
NHL Odds: Islanders-Rangers Odds
Islanders: +1.5 (-172)
Rangers: -1.5 (+142)
Over: 5.5 (+102)
Under: 5.5 (-124)
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Why The Islanders Could Cover The Spread
The Islanders beat the Rangers 2-1 in the last meeting on March 17, 2022. In that game, goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 shots, allowing only one goal. Because of this, the Islanders stole one at the Garden, coming away with two points. Sorokin is out for this game with an upper-body injury, but the Islanders still have the tools to win.
In their win over the Rangers, the Islanders won the blocked shots battle 16-9. Notably, the Islanders prevented many shots from getting to Sorokin by putting their bodies in front of anything that went toward the net. Also, the Islanders converted on its power-play chances. Anders Lee converted with a power-play goal early in the second period of that game to give the Islanders the early lead. The Islanders finished 1 for 3 on the extra-man attack. It was a victory for them, considering the Islanders rank near the bottom in power-play percentage. The Islanders also allowed the Rangers to finish 1 for 3 on the power play. Killing penalties is an issue with the Islanders, so they need to be mindful and stay out of the box.
The Islanders will cover the spread if they can convert on power-play opportunities, block shots in front of the goalie, and stay out of the box. If the Islanders do this, they have a chance to cover the spread and steal the win.
Why The Rangers Could Cover The Spread
The Rangers look to avenge their loss from 15 days ago as they face an Islanders team coming off a back-to-back. Sorokin, the goalie who stuffed them in that game, will not play due to an upper-body injury. Therefore, the Islanders will go with Semyon Varlamov for the second straight night or Cory Schneider. This could benefit the Rangers.
Schneider has not started a game since the 2019-2020 season when the New Jersey Devils allowed his contract to expire. In 18 career games against the Rangers, Schneider is 6-8-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. If the Rangers do face Schneider, it could open up a can of worms for them. The Rangers score plenty of goals as they rank third in the league. Additionally, the Rangers are the second-best power-play unit in the NHL. Of course, there is goalie Igor Shesterkin. He is having a spectacular season, with a 32-9-3 record. Shesterkin has a 2.11 goals-against average, with a .936 save percentage.
Therefore, the Rangers will cover the spread if they can block shots effectively in front of Shesterkin, convert on its power-play chances, and connect on shooting opportunities. In addition to that, Shesterkin needs to continue his dazzling play and shut down the Islanders and their ferocious offense.
Final Islanders-Rangers Prediction & Pick
The battle for New York will be a war. Unfortunately for the Islanders, the playoffs are out of range with not much time left. However, the Rangers are likely going to the playoffs and battling for playoff positioning. The extra day of preparation could go a long way for the Rangers. Hence, the Rangers will win and cover the spread while taking advantage of a tired Islanders team.
Final Islanders-Rangers Prediction & Pick: Rangers -1.5 (+142)