Chicago Blackhawks vs. New York Islanders - 3/17/15 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction
New York Islanders (43-24-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (41-21-6)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 8:30 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -147 / New York Islanders +133 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The New York Islanders are struggling mightily as we head down the home stretch of the regular season. New York has lost three games in a row, four of their last five, and six of their last eight. They’ve lost four straight games on home ice, and lately the offense has been the biggest culprit. This is an Islanders club that was lighting the lamp with regularity for much of the season before suddenly hitting this dry spell. New York has scored just a single goal in each of the last three games and their power play has been an absolute mess as well. Saturday night the Islanders had an opportunity to get right back on the ice after a difficult 2-1 loss to Ottawa on Friday, but the results were nearly identical. The Islanders actually scored a power play goal in this game on one of their five opportunities, but they allowed a short handed goal before that that proved to be the game winner. Montreal scored twice in the first 3:13 of the second period and that was all they would need as they handed the Islanders another defeat, this time by the score of 3-1. Josh Bailey’s 15th goal of the season came on the power play in the third period and the Islanders had numerous chances to tie the game but couldn’t solve Carey Price a second time. The Islanders are in jeopardy of losing home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs with the Pittsburgh Penguins right on their heels, and if they can’t find a way to turn things around over their last dozen games they could drop even further. Things aren’t going to get any easier with a trip to Chicago on Tuesday night and games against Minnesota, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Detroit upcoming.
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In Chicago the Blackhawks are still doing everything they can to gain home ice advantage in their opening round match up. The Blackhawks looked to be on a collision course with the St. Louis Blues in the opening round, but with the freefall of the Nashville Predators still ongoing that is still up in the air. Chicago currently trails Nashville by five points in the Central Division standings, but with three games in hand on the Predators. Chicago has won two games in a row heading into Tuesday’s match up with New York, and they used a strong third period to take down the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon. With the game tied 2-2 heading into the third period Chicago wasted no time taking control. Brandon Saad scored his 21st goal of the season just 1:21 into the period to put the Hawks in front for good. Bryan Bickell, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa also scored third period goals as the Blackhawks went on to the 6-2 win. Patrick Sharp opened the scoring with his 11th of the season in the first period, and Duncan Keith added his eighth of the year on the power play in the middle frame. Corey Crawford picked up his 28th win of the season after stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced.
The Islanders need to find a way to get their game back on track, but it’s going to be difficult to go into Chicago and do that. The Blackhawks still have a lot to play for down the stretch and with a tough road trip upcoming they’d really like to find a way to get a win here.