New York Islanders (8-17-5) at Anaheim Ducks (20-7-5)
|Date & Time||Monday December 9, 2013, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -200 / New York Islanders +181 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Islanders look to end their hideous losing ways as they travel into Anaheim to face one of the best teams in the NHL.
New York made the postseason last year and even chased Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the net for the duration of the Penguins’ playoff tenure and with their young core a year older it was expected that they would contend in the East this season. However, the Isles are far from the team they were last year and are anything but contenders in the Metropolitan division as they sit dead last and only lead the Sabres for the worst mark in the game. New York has lost 9 of their 10 games and are just 8-17-5 on the year making their trade for overpriced forward Thomas Vanek look like a huge mistake. It is certain that the deal wasn’t popular amongst Islanders players as it seemed that everyone had a great working and personal relationship with Matt Moulson and now the main core that was working so well over the past few seasons on Long Island has been disrupted.
The Ducks meanwhile continue to prove they are for real as they sit with the best record in the ridiculously competitive Pacific division and are just two points shy of the Blackhawks for the top mark in the NHL. Anaheim has been called into question for being an older team and for lacking some offensive depth but they have silenced the critics and should very much be in the running for the President’s Trophy as the league’s top regular season performer. Goaltending has been a strong suit for the Ducks this season as Jonas Hiller is putting up a Vezina type season and while the rumor mill has been swirling all season regarding his future he continues to go about his business and get things done. This is another chalky line between two very different teams and while there is no value in taking Anaheim here unless you lay two goals I think there is value in the total. I think this one stays under as the Isles will be looking to salvage some pride on this road trip and while the Ducks can light the lamp they can also win in check down contests which is what I think we see here.