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Another Defensive Struggle Looming Between Bruins, Isles

Boston vs New York Betting Odds

Did a road shootout win just before Christmas alter the New York Islanders' long-term fortunes in its head-to-head series with Boston? Friday might go a long way in determining whether the Islanders' 3-2 victory Dec. 20 in Boston was a sign of better days ahead – or whether it was a blip in a series that has otherwise been dominated by the powerhouse Bruins.

Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders

Opening Odds Analysis

The Bruins opened as rather comfortable -130 favorites despite the Islanders having gone an impressive 14-5-2 on home ice this season. The total of 5.5 is on the low end, but the teams have finished below that in four straight meetings.

Boston Bruins News & Notes

Boston had won each of the previous seven meetings between the teams prior to that shootout setback at TD Garden – and you could easily make that the case that the Bruins deserved better, handily winning the shots and faceoff battles. Boston still salvaged a point – something it has done in all but two of its first 26 home games this season.

Boston is always a great source of player prop plays – and the guy at the top of that list is on one of his hot streaks. League goal-scoring leader David Pastrnak is coming off a hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets; his 35 goals are four more than runner-up Auston Matthews. But the Isles have been one of his biggest foils, holding him without a goal in nine straight meetings.

New York Islanders News & Notes

That the Islanders are right in the thick of the battle for second place in the Metropolitan Division is incredible when you consider that they've scored the fifth-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference (120). They have just four double-digit goal scorers entering the weekend, with the team's scoring leader Mathew Barzal (35 points) ranking outside the top-50 league-wide.

Even stranger: the Islanders have been terrible at drawing penalties, to the point where that might actually decide their playoff fate. New York has had just 94 power-play opportunities; the next-closest team, the Anaheim Ducks, entered Friday having enjoyed 120 man-advantage chances. And that's a problem for an Isles team that ranks 17th in powerplay efficiency (19.2 percent).

Betting Pick: UNDER

You have two of the top three defensive teams in the league squaring off here – and one of them is completely unreliable on the offensive end. We like the UNDER despite the low total.

Shark Bites
  • Boston is 8-0 SU in its last 8 road games vs. New York.
  • New York is 1-4 SU in its previous 5 home games.
  • The UNDER is 5-2 in Boston's last 7 road games.