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Islanders Tabbed as Big Road Underdogs in Pittsburgh Tonight

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) looks to pass the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Newark, N.J.

To put it lightly, the New York Islanders have flat-out owned the Metropolitan Division this season. The Isles carry a 10-2-0 SU record against the Metropolitan in 2018-19 into a road matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where sportsbooks opened Pittsburgh as -200 home favorites with a total of 6.5.

SHARK BITES
  • The total has gone UNDER in four of the Islanders’ last five games vs the Penguins (avg. combined score: 5.6).
  • The Penguins are 1-6 SU in their last seven games vs divisional opponents.
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Islanders’ last five games (avg. combined score: 4.4).

Islanders vs Penguins Game Center

Lee has been carrying the Islanders lately

The Islanders swept a home-and-home set against the Pens on October 30 and November 1 to improve to 5-1-3 in their past nine in the series, as captain Anders Lee notched a tally in New York’s 3-2 shootout victory on November 1. Lee has potted the team’s first goal in three straight, including Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. New York’s offense has dried up overall, however, as the Islanders have been held to a single goal in three of their last five contests while going 2-2-1 in that span.

It’s been a rocky season for the Penguins so far as the club has been searching for offensive consistency since the campaign began. Patric Hornqvist has done his part of late, evidenced by the 31-year-old matching a personal best with a four-point performance in a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Hornqvist’s three goals in 2:47 were good enough to rank as the fastest hat trick in franchise history. The Swede now has 13 points in his past nine contests.

Captain Sidney Crosby has been fantastic against the Isles in his career, recording a ridiculous 110 points (35 goals, 75 assists) in 64 games vs New York – his highest total against any team.

Is the UNDER worth a look?

While the Islanders have been excellent against divisional opponents this year, it’s been the opposite story for the Penguins. Entering tonight’s game, Pittsburgh is 1-6 in its past seven vs the Metropolitan. The Penguins are also 1-4 in their previous five when coming off a win.

Is another low-scoring affair in store in this series? The Isles and Pens have made a habit of keeping scores low when they get together, as the UNDER is 4-1 in the past five meetings between New York and Pittsburgh with an average combined score of 5.6 goals. The UNDER has also paid out in each of the Islanders’ last five tilts with an average combined score of 4.4 goals.

Greiss, DeSmith tabbed as starting netminders

Thomas Greiss and Casey DeSmith are likely to get the start in net for the Isles and Pens, respectively. Greiss (9-5-1, 2.39 goals-against average, .925 save percentage) has appeared in two games against the Penguins this season, stopping 41 of the 44 shots he's faced.

DeSmith (7-4-3, 2.49 GAA, .923 SV%) has fared well over the past five outings, going 4-1-0 with a 2.41 GAA and .923 SV%).

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