NHL Ice Picks: Saturday February 20, 2021by Joel Dorcas February 20, 2021 0 comments
Welcome back, puck heads, to another Saturday edition of Ice Picks. We knocked off our two picks successfully last time out. Let’s see if we can duplicate that feat for our feature games tonight.
Season record: 12-8-1
Betting Odds provided by Jazz Sportsbook. Please gamble responsibly.
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins
As soon as the Islanders dropped game one of this two-game set they were on my radar. Also attractive is the fact that bookmakers have the Isles priced as underdogs. The Islanders have so much depth in all facets of the game and they are turning a corner after a somewhat shaky start. Heading into Thursday’s 4-1 setback, New York was undefeated in eight straight (5-0-3).
Goaltending and defense continue to be rock solid. Defenseman Noah Dobson is making Long Island fans forget about Devon Toews. The No. 12 overall pick from 2018 already has seven points in 15 games, matching his output over 34 games in his rookie campaign last season. As for offensive production, the Islanders have plenty of forwards who are capable of pitching in. Jean-Gabriel Pageau has five goals in his last five games.
As for the Pens, they still have plenty of offensive firepower but also have many concerns on the back end. They rank 23rd in high-danger chances at 47.08 percent. Tristan Jarry has played better recently, but all told, Jarry and Casey DeSmith own the league’s worst save percentage of 88.14. Arguably the team’s best all around defenseman Brian Dumoulin is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Pittsburgh holds a 2-1 edge in the season series, but expect the Isles to bounce back and grab the victory in this one.
Ice Pick: New York Islanders +105 money line
Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks
There is no reason to consider the over in this tilt of defensive-minded teams. With the Wild finally getting back to a fully healthy squad, you can have confidence in backing them on the money line, as well.
The Wild and Ducks are each averaging just 1.80 goals per game in their last five contests. Twelve of the Ducks 16 games played this season have gone under the total. The under is also 7-1 in Anaheim’s last eight when they are the home underdog, and the team continues to get outstanding goaltending from John Gibson. The stellar save percentage of the club at 91.15 percent is ninth-best in the league.
Between these two teams (dating back to the beginning of 2019) the under has hit in four of six overall contests. Minnesota holds a decisive 5-1 edge over the last six at the Honda Center. The Wild own the second-best expected goals against mark at just 22.99.
The Ducks are dead last in scoring on the full season at 1.90 goals per game. An even bigger concern is their power play which has gone just 3-for-38 this season. Hampus Lindholm, regarded as the team’s best defenseman, is questionable to suit up as he suffered a lower-body injury Thursday.
Ice Pick: Minnesota Wild money line (-145), and game total under 5.5 (-125)
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Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremyguerin_7