The most exciting game in the NHL on Thursday, December 22, will be played between the city rivals at MSG, so make sure you don’t miss out on the best Islanders vs. Rangers betting pick and odds.
The Islanders are hoping to shake off poor form when they take on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The Rangers are -160 moneyline favorites on BetMGM NY, while the total is set at 5.5 goals. These Metropolitan Division foes have already met twice this year, and the Islanders won both games.
Islanders fell short of the Avalanche in the shootout
The New York Islanders (18-13-0-2, 20-13 ATS) managed to snap a three-game losing skid with a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, but they returned to losing ways with a 1-0 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The Islanders will conclude their five-game road trip with this game against the city rivals Rangers, after which they will have a three-game home stand.
The Islanders were excellent defensively in Denver and Ilya Sorokin registered his third shutout of the campaign, but the Isles were outshot by the Avalanche. The Avs had 46 shots opposite New York’s 26 and the hosts deserved to win. This season, Brock Nelson leads the Islanders in points with 33 (G 15, A 18), while Mathew Barzal is following him with 31 (G 4, A 27).
Ilya Sorokin (10-10-1) is a probable goalie for the Isles against the Rangers on Thursday. The 27-year-old is allowing 2.36 goals per game this year with a .926 SV% and three shutouts.
RW Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) and D Adam Pelech (upper body) are out indefinitely. G Semyon Varlamov (lower body) and RW Kyle Palmieri (upper body) are questionable to feature on Thursday against the Rangers.
Rangers’ excellent run snapped in Pittsburgh
The New York Rangers (18-11-4-1, 14-20 ATS) are playing their best hockey of the season but their seven-game winning streak ended with a 3-2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road. The Rangers opened a three-game road trip with a pair of victories over the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks, scoring 13 goals in the process, but that road trip ended with a loss in Pittsburgh. Now, the Rangers will spend the next two games at home against the Islanders and Capitals.
Chris Kreider needed just 22 seconds to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead against the Penguins, and he also scored the last goal of the tilt, but the hosts scored three in between to secure a W. Vincent Trocheck dished out both assists for Kreider’s goals. Artemi Panarin is the Rangers’ most valuable player so far in the season with 40 goals (G 8, A 32). Mika Zibanejad contributed 37 points (G 15, A 22), while Adam Fox has 34 (G 7, A 27).
Igor Shesterkin will start at the goal for the Rangers against the Islanders on Thursday. The 26-year-old is surrendering 2.42 goals per contest this season along with a .918 SV% and one shutout.
1-4 in the last five overall
1-5 in the last six games playing on two days of rest
7-1 in the last eight overall
5-2 in the last seven after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
4-1 in the last five games playing on one day of rest
New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers Pick
These city rivals are quite similar in both offense and defense. The Rangers are in better form recently, but they are only three points above in the Eastern Conference standings with a game in hand. The Rangers are scoring 3.24 goals per game, while the Islanders average 3.15 gpg. On defense, the Rangers allow 2.71 gpg opposite the Isles’ 2.73 gpg.
That said, it’s going to be a tight affair, but I am going with the Rangers because of their form and the fact that the Islanders have already beaten them twice this season. Sorokin is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, but the Rangers have been quite efficient on offense lately, scoring 4+ goals in five of the previous eight games, which is another reason I am going with the nominal hosts.
Pick: Take the Rangers to win (-160)
Well, Sorokin is not only among the best goalies in the league, but he is also leading the NHL in shutouts with three. On the other hand, Shesterkin conceded more than a goal only twice in his previous six starts, and I am backing him to limit the Islanders to two or three goals here.
The rivals combined for seven goals the last time they met, but don’t expect to see a high-scoring fair on Thursday. Under is 11-3 in the last 14 H2H meetings, while Under is 6-1-1 in the previous eight H2H duels in New York.
Pick: Go Under 5.5 goals (-110)