NHL Playoff Picks: Islanders vs. Penguins

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Pittsburgh is the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup this season but as they get set to host eighth-seeded New York, there is a few things bettors need to consider


Fleury’s 12-14 playoff record with a 3.12 goals-against average since winning the Cup prompted Pittsburgh to acquire Tomas Vokoun during the 2012 off-season

Pittsburgh will open against the New York Islanders and first round playoff odds at sportsbooks are already reaching heights of more than 4 to 1 on the Cup-favored Penguins. Very few pundits even had the Islanders pencilled to make the postseason, let alone compete, and while going into Sid ‘The Kid’ Crosby’s house to open the playoffs is a tall order for any team it’s clear the Isles feel little to no pressure.


At 14-6-4, the Islanders had the third-best road record in the East this season but there were signs down the stretch that New York’s armor was starting to crack. The team finished with five-straight road games and after scoring 10 goals in wins against Toronto and Winnipeg, New York was held to a total of just five goals in its final three games.


Since 2006, the Isles are just 29-47 (38-percent) on the road after two-straight road games, the third-lowest win percentage in the league over that span. And while that record improved to .500 during the 2013 season we note that since Jan. 29, New York posted 3 overs and 6 unders in that spot including two games at Pittsburgh which both stayed under the total.


Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is a bit of question mark given his playoff performance the past three years but during the off-season, Pittsburgh signed an insurance deal with Tomas Vokoun. Crosby’s (jaw) status is still uncertain and he may miss the opener but the Pens still have the edge in depth and special teams.


New York (+359) is an attractive looking offer but taking the Penguins to win in exactly six games pays back at +381 (NHL odds from Pinnacle Sports). We’ll back Pittsburgh to win this series in six and suggest taking the first game “Under” 5.5 goals (-104).


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