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Detroit Red Wings vs. New York Islanders - 12/23/13

New York Islanders (10-20-7) at Detroit Red Wings (17-12-9)
Date & Time Monday December 23, 2013, 7:30 PM (EST)
The Line
The Line: Detroit Red Wings -168 / New York Islanders +153 --- Over/Under: 5
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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings look to win their third straight contest on Monday as they host the Islanders at Joe Louis Arena.

The Islanders surprised a lot of people last season when they secured the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and actually chased Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the net for the rest of the postseason and this year was supposed to be more of the same. Expectations on Long Island this year were as high as any year that I can remember since their dynasty days but so far they have been massive underachievers and have the third worst record in the NHL. The Isles shipped out popular forward Matt Moulson to Buffalo in exchange for Thomas Vanek in anticipation of a playoff run but so far the Isles sit 10-20-7 record and are 28 points behind the division leading Penguins. However, they have a great shot at pulling off an upset as the Wings have been mediocre at best in their last 10 contests despite winning their last two with conviction.  Evgeni Nabokov gets the call for the Isles while Jonas Gustavsson counters for Detroit.

The Red Wings were projected by many to finish at or near the top of the Eastern Conference this season and while there is still a ton of hockey left to be played they don’t seem to have the same swagger that we have seen in year’s past. Detroit has had to battle injuries to some of their best players including Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk but even with those guys the Wings struggled to find their game at times this year and will have to start playing better if they want to be considered an elite team. Jonas Gustavsson gets the call here and he has actually played quite well this season and gives the Wings a goaltending advantage here but he will still have to be sharp if he wants to contain the likes of John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. While Detroit has played better of late I think these twams are closer than their records indicate and I think the Islanders can get this game to overtime where all bets are off. Take New York to keep it close. 

New York Islanders +0.5
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