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Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders Betting Pick

For the sixth time in February, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders will face off. Sunday’s matchup comes one day after Pittsburgh’s 4-3 victory, which needed to be decided in overtime.

Here is a preview of Sunday’s game between the Penguins and Islanders, with a few key stats and a pick to win. The game is what you’d call a “pick ’em,” with each team placed at -110 on the moneyline.

By the Numbers

This season, the Penguins have had the slight edge when it comes to scoring goals, averaging exactly three per game compared to 2.7 for the Islanders. However, New York has the slight edge in shots on goal, and at 23.6 percent, holds an approximate eight-point advantage for power-play percentage over Pittsburgh.

When it comes to defense, New York has a clearer advantage. The Islanders are only allowing 2.4 goals, fourth in the NHL, while also ranking inside the top-10 in shots allowed and penalty kill percentage. The only area the Penguins are inside the top-10 is for shots allowed, but they sit 28th with 3.32 goals allowed per game and 27th in penalty kill percentage.

Penguins Betting Preview

Despite being at a somewhat statistical disadvantage, the Penguins have still managed to win four of the first five meetings between these teams. Perhaps a part of the reason is the fact they’ve out-shot New York all but once in those games. Regardless, Pittsburgh sweeping the Islanders on the road this weekend would be their fifth win in six games.

The captain Sidney Crosby is the team’s leading scorer, registering seven goals and 11 assists each to lead the team. Crosby is coming off a goal and assist performance on Saturday, while defenseman Kris Letang scored two goals, including the game-winner on Saturday as well. Letang has a four-game point streak, with all four goals of his coming in that stretch.

Elsewhere, Jake Guentzel carries a four-game point streak into Sunday, as he trails Crosby by a single point for the team lead. Aside from those three, only Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen have registered more than one point this week.

With Tristan Jarry starting yesterday, look for Pittsburgh to turn to backup Casey DeSmith in net. DeSmith is 4-1-0 this season with a 2.84 GAA but carries an uninspiring .885 save percentage.

Islanders Betting Preview

There is just something about the Penguins that has given the Islanders trouble. New York’s last four losses as a team have come against Pittsburgh; you remove those, and they haven’t lost since January 31st, a game that wrapped up their five-game losing streak. So a bounce-back effort against the Penguins would work for a team that finds themselves just two points out of first place in the East Division.

New York’s young star is also their point leader. Matthew Barzal has goals in back-to-back games, giving him eight on the year to go with 10 assists. The leading goal-scorer is captain Anders Lee, who is up to nine goals after scoring twice in the last three games.

Setting up Barzal and Lee has been the defenseman Nick Leddy, who has four helpers in three games to give him 12 on the year. Other goal-scorers to watch include Jordan Eberle and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, while young players like Oliver Wahlstrom and Anthony Beauvillier enter Sunday with point-streaks on the line.

After the starter Semyon Varlamov went on Saturday, rookie Ilya Sorokin is due to get his start in net on Sunday. Sorokin, who has only made four starts all year, is 1-2-1 but carries a 2.74 GAA and .895 save percentage. It will be the first time he has faced Pittsburgh this season.

Betting Pick

This game should be another fun one, with each of these goalies entering the nets fresh and without a ton of experience against their opponents. New York is statistically the better team, but Pittsburgh seems to have their number. Although not by much, as four of their five games against one another have been decided by a lone score, with two needing extra time. At even money, I’m going to take the Islanders in hopes they recover and bounce back at home.

Pick: Islanders -110

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