NHL picks: Islanders vs. Penguins, Wild vs. Ducks
Another exciting slate of NHL action awaits fans and bettors this Thursday night. We did some digging and came up with the two best bets to be had below.
New York Islanders (8-4-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-6-1), 7:00 p.m. ET
Fri, February 19 2021, 12:00 AM
The New York Islanders have been a tough team to play against in February. They should handle the slumping Penguins in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
The Isles are 5-0-1 since the start of the month, with their only loss coming via shootout against this divisional rival last Thursday. However, New York already owns a win against Pittsburgh from Feb. 6. Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau has had the sniper’s touch over his last four games, lighting the lamp five times.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau extended his goal streak to four games and matched the longest such stretch of his career (4 GP in 2019-20 w/ OTT).— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 17, 2021
Two @NYIslanders players posted a run of at least that length in 2019-20: Derick Brassard (5 GP) and Anthony Beauvillier (4 GP). #NHLStats https://t.co/eTzrbLBjh6
Barry Trotz’s squad, which is 7-0-3 in its last 10 games against the Penguins, should get another fine performance in net from Semyon Varlamov as well. The 32-year-old netminder currently boasts career-highs in save % (.931) and GAA (1.89).
Pittsburgh’s offense – 16th by goals per game (2.93) – has been too spotty to overcome it’s lackluster defense, which ranks 28th by goals allowed per game (3.57) in 2021. The value is with New York here as slight underdogs.
Minnesota Wild (6-6-0) at Anaheim Ducks (6-7-3), 10:00 p.m. ET
Fri, February 19 2021, 3:00 AM
Bettors should expect precious few pucks to be put across the line in this late-night NHL heat as the Minnesota Wild play the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center.
The visiting Wild are just 24th in goals per game (2.50), and they scored one goal or fewer in three of their last five contests before their near-two week COVID pause. They were shut out on Tuesday by the mediocre Los Angeles Kings, 4-0, in their first game action since their season was interrupted.
Compounding Minnesota’s offensive problems is their pathetic power play, which ranks at the bottom of the league with a paltry 6.7% conversion rate. They’ll face off with an Anaheim penalty kill that ranks fifth in the NHL (85.4%), and a sharp Ducks goalie in John Gibson that’s already tallied three shutouts this season.
The Ducks’ offense has been even worse than the Wild's in 2021, as they’re tied for last in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in goals per game (1.94). Their power play is not much better than Minnesota’s, ranking 29th with a 8.6% conversion rate. They’ll take on the Wild’s sixth-rated penalty kill (85.1%) in this one.
Trend bettors should note that the Under has cashed in four of Minnesota’s last five road games, and in seven of Anaheim’s last nine tilts at the Honda Center.