New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Free Pick

PPG Paints Arena is the site for a divisional matchup as the New York Islanders square off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first puck drops at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 3, and it’ll air live on MSG Network.

New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins Odds

Pittsburgh is 36-29 straight up (SU) and has lost 1.7 units for moneyline bettors thus far. That winning percentage, ranked 2nd in the Metropolitan Division in this young season, is a regression from the 50-32 record that the team posted during the 2016-17 season campaign. Of its 65 games this season, 35 have gone over the total, while 28 have gone under and just two have pushed. This season, the team is 23-9 SU at home.

The Penguins come into the matchup with the second-strongest power-play unit in the NHL, as they’ve scored on 26.4 percent of their extra-man advantages this year. On the other hand, their penalty kill is rated 14th overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 81.4 percent of all penalties.

As a collective unit, the Penguins have been whistled for penalties 4.1 times per game overall this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five outings home outings. The team has been forced to kill penalties for 8.7 minutes per game over their last 10 matchups, in total.

Averaging 25.7 saves per game with a .909 save percentage, Matt Murray (25 wins, 16 losses, and two OT losses) has been the primary option in goal for the Pens this year. If head coach Mike Sullivan chooses to give him the night off, however, the team could roll with Tristan Jarry (11-10-10 record, .912 save percentage, 2.73 goals against average).

The Pens will continue to look for leadership out of Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Malkin (78 points) has put up 36 goals and 42 assists and has recorded two or more points in 19 different games this year. Kessel has 27 goals and 45 assists to his credit and has notched a point in 44 games.

On the other bench, New York is 29-36 straight up (SU) and has lost 6.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 65 regular season matches, 38 of its games have gone over the total, while 23 have gone under and just three have pushed. As an away team, the Islanders are 13-20 SU.

The Islanders have converted on 20.9 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 30th overall and it’s successfully killed off 74.7 percent of all opponent power plays.

New York’s skaters have been penalized only 3.3 times per game in total this season, and 2.2 per game over their last five on the road. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 6.4 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Jaroslav Halak (3.22 goals against average and .909 save percentage) has been the primary option in goal for New York. Halak is averaging 30.3 saves per game and has 18 wins, 28 losses, and five overtime losses to his credit.

Mathew Barzal (18 goals, 49 assists) has been one of the most vital offensive facilitators for the visiting Islanders.

New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Predictions

NHL Prediction: SU Winner – Penguins, O/U – Over

Betting Trends

  • New York is 3-2 in games decided by a shootout this season while Pittsburgh is 2-2 in shootouts.
  • The over has hit in four of Pittsburgh’s last five games.
  • New York has managed 29.0 shot attempts per game over its last five road games while Pittsburgh has been attempting 36.4 shots per game over its last five at home.
  • Pittsburgh has allowed 3.0 goals per game this season, but has allowed 5.7 goals per contest over its three-game losing skid.
  • Six of New York’s last ten games have been decided by two goals or more. The team is 2-4 in those games.
  • This game features two of the more aggressive defenses in the league. New York skaters have accounted for the leagues ninth-most hits per game (22.7) and the Penguins have recorded the sixth-most (24.2).