New York Islanders vs. St. Louis Blues - 1/25/14
St. Louis Blues (34-11-5) at New York Islanders (21-25-7)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm (Nassau Coliseum)
The Line: New York Islanders +143 / St. Louis Blues -157 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: FS-MW, MSG PLUS
In an early afternoon game on Saturday, we will see the St. Louis Blues travel to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to challenge the New York Islanders.
Alex Steen, the Blues leading goal scorer, missed 11 games last month with a concussion. Steen has picked up where he left off with four points in four games since his return. However, the Blues may have to trek on without Steen once again as his suffered a lower body injury against the New York Rangers on Thursday. The Blues were able to stave off the Rangers and leave MSG with a 2-1 victory thanks to the third period heroics of Kevin Shattenkirk. Jaroslav Halak stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced in the win. The Blues are now 6-4 in the last ten and are battling atop the Western Conference for playoff positioning.
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Sure, the New York Islanders can build a lead, but the problem becomes maintaining such lead. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, New York jumped out to an early two-goal advantage in the first, but by the first period horn they had squandered the lead away. The Penguins rode that momentum to a 6-4 win over the Islanders in a game that was never really too close after the blown lead. The Islanders’ NHL worst penalty kill was on display as the Penguins exposed passing lanes and took advantage of defensive mishaps. The Islanders have managed to light up the scoreboard of late, scoring four or more in each of its last four contests, which is well above the team’s season average of 2.7 goals per game
This is the second matchup of the season between the Blues and Islanders, with the first being a 5-1 Blues victory in St. Louis. The home team is 5-1 in the last six meetings, but the Blues are 4-1 in the last five meetings overall. New York is 5-0 in the last five games against Western Conference opponents and 7-3 in the last ten overall. The St. Louis Blues do not seem to be playing their best hockey at the moment, which is still better than most teams in the league, but it becomes hard to lay big prices under such circumstances without more confidence, especially on the road.
Each of the last four New York games has gone over the total. The Blues have only played over the total one time in the last seven games, but the fact remains that St. Louis has the second ranked offense in the NHL in terms of goals per game. With the scoring that the Islanders have been doing of late and the Blues talent on offense, I think that St. Louis can expose New York’s porous defense and put the game over the total of 5.5.