New York Islanders centre Valtteri Filppula (51) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, December 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
New York Islanders centre Valtteri Filppula (51) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, December 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)|Associated Press
NHL

NHL: Running w/the Isles & a high scoring Blackhawks/Rangers game

Without F Taylor Hall in the lineup it’s hard to imagine the Devils put up much a fight tonight

Craig Dietel

Craig Dietel

Devils (18-21-7) +135 @ Islanders (26-15-4) -160 7:00 PM ET
Pick: Islanders money line -160

Tonight the Devils face New York (no, not the Rangers) in a Metropolitan Division matchup that see’s the Islanders chasing that 1st place seed in the division. New Jersey has played abhorrently on the road this season of 5-16-3 which does not bode well for them going into a matchup they were most likely going to lose no matter where it was played. New Jersey got decimated from the get go during Tuesday night’s tilt against a Columbus team that’s had their number throughout the past 2 seasons. Without F Taylor Hall in the lineup (the team has not disclosed anything about his injury either, which is cause for concern), it’s hard to imagine they put up much a fight tonight. There’s only so much F Blake Coleman can do to carry this team like he has been in Hall’s absence.

The Islanders on the other hand are a team on a mission. Everyone is playing their best and it shows. They are 8-2-0 in their last 10 and show no signs of slowing down, especially to the inferior Devils roster. They are getting contributions from all over the lineup as well, heck F Valtteri Filppula was Tuesday night’s Overtime Hero, that’s when you know a team is on an upward trend. Look for the Isles to take the lead early and really hammer the Devils home tonight.

Blackhawks (16-23-9) +110 @ Rangers -130 (19-20-7) 7:00 PM
Pick: Over 6.5

The Windy City meets The Big Apple in this matchup between two of the largest fan bases in the NHL. The last time we covered a Blackhawks game, the two teams put up a collective 13 goals. F Patrick Kane has his hand in 4 of them alone. The Devils managed to put up 8 goals without their offensive juggernaut Hall in the lineup. Look out because we think this is going to be another game of high event hockey.

The Chicago goaltending situation is not in good shape. Without Corey Crawford, Chicago is not left with much, which was evident on Monday night. The Rangers have about an equal amount of offensive prowess in their lineup as the Devils, if not more. Look for F Mika Zibanejad, F Jimmy Vesey, F Kevin Hayes, etc. to come through and find the back of the net.

On the other end of the spectrum, G Henrik Lundvist is quietly have a stellar season, despite the Rangers losing record. However, whenever Patrick Kane is on the ice, anything can happen. Look for him and Jonathan Toews to make a mess of the Rangers stingy defense and find a way to score. We like the over in this one and we think you will too.

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