Pittsburgh Penguins (+111) at New York Islanders (-123, 5 o/u)
Two teams that fighting for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference are set to meet tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins (34-23-8, 76 pts) visit the New York Islanders (36-20-7, 79 pts) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn (7:30 PM Eastern).
The Islanders currently hold down the third and final automatic playoff berth in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh occupies the first of two Wild Card spots in the East, but are just one point up on Detroit and three clear of Philadelphia.
The Penguins are 6-4 in their last ten and are coming off one of their best performances of the season, hammering the Devils, 6-1, in New Jersey on Sunday. The Pens got contributions from some unlikely sources. Bryan Rust – who has just seven points on the year – had a three-point night, while Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist.
Pittsburgh’s big guns also contributed, with Evgeni Malkin notching his 26th and 27th goals of the season and Sidney Crosby adding a pair of helpers.
Crosby got off to a tremendously slow start to the year, but now has nine points in his last five and is averaging over a point per game on the year (65 points in 64 games).
The Islanders come into tonight 6-1 in their last seven, including a 6-4 win over the rival Rangers on Sunday. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk had two goals in the win, which moved the Isles just three points back of NYR for second in the Metro.
While the Isles continue to put up points at a decent clip, head coach Jack Capuano will want to see the defense improve heading into the postseason. His squad has given up 12 goals in the last four games.
The Islanders have won the last two at home against the Penguins, but lost 5-2 in Pittsburgh in their only previous meeting this year.
The total has hit the over in eight of the last 11 between the Pens and Islanders in New York. With the Isles struggling to keep the puck out of their net and Crosby on a tear, roll with the over tonight.
Pick: OVER 5.
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