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Two Winless Teams Battle at United Center on ESPN

Marc-Andre Fleury & Blackhawks opened as slight home favorites against winless Islanders

The Chicago Blackhawks will play their home opener Tuesday against one of the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup, with both teams still searching for their first victory of the season. The Blackhawks are 0-2-1 through their first three games while the Islanders are 0-2 and continue a 13-game road trip as their new arena is completed.


New York Islanders vs Chicago Blackhawks
  • Date/Time: October 19, 8 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: United Center
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Blackhawks -120 | O/U 5.5 (Line History)
  • Islanders vs Blackhawks Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

New York has surprisingly been dominated in its first two games, getting outscored by a huge 11-4 margin at the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. The same cannot be said about Chicago, as this was a team that has struggled mightily at times over the past few seasons, putting head coach Jeremy Colliton on the hot seat early on. The Islanders are viewed by many as the more talented team, especially by bettors who have already moved them into the role of small road favorites at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.

New York News & Notes

Ilya Sorokin (5.09 goals-against average) has gotten off to a rough start for the Islanders this year following an impressive rookie campaign that saw him go 13-6 with a 2.17 GAA and three shutouts. But it is obviously a very small sample size against two playoff teams from last season in the Hurricanes and Panthers.

Offensively, his teammates have not provided him with enough support to pick up their first win either, although this looks to be the perfect spot to get on track and earn it. Playing the second-longest road trip in NHL history should not be an excuse either, especially since they have gone 50-41-11 away from home in the first three years under head coach Barry Trotz.

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Chicago News & Notes

Rumors have been swirling that Colliton could be on his way out, even though the Blackhawks have only played three games. However, the same franchise fired three-time Stanley Cup winner Joel Quenneville after 15 games in 2018, and they had gone 6-6-3 during that span. The players reportedly believe in Colliton, but that alone may not be enough to save his job.

Regardless, Chicago has a similar issue as New York in terms of poor goaltending, with Marc-Andre Fleury (0-2, 7.06) off to one of the worst starts of his Hall of Fame career. Fleury arrived in an offseason trade with the Vegas Golden Knights to help solve one of the team’s biggest weaknesses, and it has been so far so bad.

How New York Will Win

The Islanders have had three days since their last game vs the Panthers, which is plenty of time to reflect on the first two games and make adjustments. Trotz is an outstanding coach who has faith in Sorokin, and this is a team that has made it to the Stanley Cup semifinals two years in a row. That experience and leadership is all it takes.

How Chicago Will Win

For the Blackhawks, they will be counting on the home crowd to give them a boost. They may not be as talented as their opponent, but Fleury has been known to feed off the fans in his previous stints in Vegas and Pittsburgh, so this will be a good test to see if he still has what it takes. Plus, captain Jonathan Toews will be playing his first home game since March 11, 2020, when he had two assists in a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Computer Pick: Chicago ML (+105)

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Shark Bites
  • New York is 0-5 in its last 5 road games.
  • Chicago is 8-1-1 in its last 10 vs New York.
  • Chicago is 1-3-2 in its last 6 home games.