The Islanders just seem to ramp things up to a different level in the postseason. They went through the motions much of the final few weeks of the regular season, secure in the knowledge that they would be playoff-bound, but they quickly revved things up against the Penguins in a Game 1 win.
Let’s take a look at Game 2 of this first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup from a betting perspective in our Islanders vs. Penguins betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions.
Kyle Palmieri, who hadn’t done much since coming to the Islanders in a trade deadline deal with New Jersey, scored two goals in Game 1, including the overtime game-winner, in a 4-3 victory over the Penguins.
Pittsburgh, to its credit, wasn’t suffocated by New York’s defensive scheme and was able to come from behind twice to tie the score. The Penguins even took the lead once and peppered Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin with 42 shots on goal, so there’s reason for optimism heading into tonight.
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Islanders vs. Penguins Betting Pick (May 18, 2021)
A difference-maker in Game 1 was the Penguins’ inability to score on the power play. The Penguins had the eighth-best power play in the NHL in the regular season, but the Islanders had the sixth-best penalty kill.
New York doesn’t take many penalties, so chances are usually few and far between, but the Penguins had three chances with the man advantage and came up short on all three in the opener.
Pittsburgh can’t let those chances slip away if they want to win this series because New York boasts one of the league’s best 5-on-5 units.
Meanwhile, New York was surprisingly able to get its offense going against Pittsburgh. The Islanders tend to be more deliberate and opportunistic offensively, yet they got four goals on 41 shots against a Penguins team that usually is a lot tighter defensively on home ice.
Game 1 was definitely played in the Penguins’ style. Despite the Islanders’ victory, the Penguins will have to continue to dictate this type of play if they want to even the series tonight.
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Islanders vs. Penguins Game 2 Odds
Here are the Islanders vs. Penguins Game 2 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Penguins||+1.5 (-286)||-105||O 5.5 (+115)|
|Islanders||-1.5 (+230)||-110||U 5.5 (-139)|
Penguins Bets We Like With a Pittsburgh Win
Jeff Carter OVER 0.5 goals (+270, FanDuel)
Carter didn’t score in Game 1, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Carter was second only to Sidney Crosby in shots on goal, and he was very active and noticeable in the game.
Carter, a trade deadline acquisition, scored nine goals for the Penguins in 14 games to close the season. If he keeps shooting the puck, he will find the net, and the Penguins will try to continue to do their thing and get good looks.
Carter is the type of player who doesn’t miss many of those looks.
Pittsburgh needs some scoring beyond Crosby’s line if it is going to win this series. With Evgeni Malkin’s status still up in the air at the time of this writing after missing Game 1, Carter is the next best option in the middle to find the net.
Kasperi Kapanen (+300, FanDuel) also offers good value to score a goal for Pittsburgh.
Islanders Bets We Like With a New York Win
Islanders to win AND UNDER 5.5 goals (+255, DraftKings)
We aren’t as bullish on the Islanders in Game 2 as we were in Game 1. There was a lot to like about how the Penguins played in that game, and although you should always side with Islanders coach Barry Trotz in a chess match, it usually takes his opponent a bit longer to find a weakness before Trotz has to counter punch.
In this series, Trotz has to counter following a win.
In that vein, we expect this game to be a lot tighter, and if we’re brutally honest, we think Pittsburgh wins. Still, if you like the Islanders and want a little more gravy on your meal than simply taking them at +118, tease up the over/under a half puck to take the under and get +255 odds.f
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
UNDER 5.5 goals (-150, FanDuel)
We gave you this bet in Game 1 and cursed our unlucky stars when the Penguins tied it late in the third period. Still, this series should ultimately be more on the defensive side, and we think both teams will find a way to adjust to the back-and-forth nature of Game 1 and lock it down in Game 2.
Not to mention, the East teams are known for more lower-scoring games than the other divisions, and although the playoffs have trended higher scoring early on, things tend to really tighten up as a series moves along. DraftKings has the over/under set at 5. You can still get 5.5 as the primary line at Fan Duel, and you should take it.
Islanders vs. Penguins Prediction
This is the Penguins’ season tonight.
They were swept by the Islanders two seasons ago in the playoffs. This time, the Pittsburgh Penguins had home-ice advantage – something that mattered to the Penguins, who were tied for the best home record in the NHL this season, and coughed it up after one game.
They can’t afford to go down 2-0 to the Islanders and think they can come back to win. We expect a focused, determined and stifling game. We’ll take the Penguins by a 3-1 final, but if you are feeling frisky, a shutout is at +850 on DraftKings.
It’s exotic but might be worth a look in a game where there shouldn’t be much room to operate.
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