Islanders right wing Josh Bailey after scoring against Devils Cory Schneider in a shootout Thursday
Islanders right wing Josh Bailey after scoring against Devils Cory Schneider in a shootout Thursday|Associated Press

Saturday NHL: A Matinee Hat Trick To Be Had

Avalanche-Islanders / Wild-Devils / Ducks-Flyers / Penguins-Lightning

Bob Vetrone

Bob Vetrone

AVALANCHE (+130) at ISLANDERS (-150), 1 p.m.

The Islanders (31-16-6) have been on an absolute heater the past few weeks, going 7-1-2 in their most recent stretch. They narrowly defeated the Devils on Thursday night in a shootout. F Matt Barzal also potted a filthy breakaway goal coming out of the penalty box. The Isles still sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 68 points, two ahead of the Washington Capitals.

The Avalanche (22-22-9), who have dropped their last five, hasn’t won a game since mid-January so look for them to come out and surprise here. It’s only a matter of time before F Nathan MacKinnon and his band of cohorts catch fire again and we think this is the perfect opportunity for them to do so. We like the Avs in this matchup especially for this good price on the road.

Pick: Avalanche To Win (+130)

WILD (-120) at DEVILS (+100), 1 p.m.

The Devils (20-25-8) start the first half of a back-to-back against F Zach Parise (another candidate for fan booing at The Rock) and the Wild (26-23-5). The Devils usually fair decently against Minnesota so this matchup could be a good one for them.

The Wild recently traded F Nino Niederreiter to the Carolina Hurricanes for F Victor Rask, a great move for the Canes and a confusing one for the Wild. Niederreitter was a great offensive force for Minnesota and they will sorely miss him.

New Jersey is coming off of a close loss to the Islanders on Thursday and will look to rebound and get back in the winning column after dropping their last two. We like New Jersey here, as they are due for a nice team win at home.

Pick: Devils To Win (+100)

DUCKS (+200) at FLYERS (-250), 1 p.m.

Anaheim (21-25-9) heads to Broad Street to take on Gritty and the Flyers (24-23-7) in a game that is our NHL lock of the day.

The Ducks have hit the skids, having dropped six in a row and going 2-14-4 since Dec. 17. Their season is going up in flames right before their very eyes. They tried shaking up their roster in January, but nothing has really changed. They need to make a bigger move and quick because they are somehow only four points out of a playoff spot. (Every Western Conference team is no worse than five points out of a postseason slot.)

The Flyers finally lost a game (a shootout to the Kings Thursday) after winning eight straight, but look for them to rebound as G Carter Hart will get back in the goal; backup Anthony Stolarz, who played well, was in net for the Kings game. The Flyers are making their push towards an improbable postseason and certainly won’t let this easy two points elude them here.

Pick: Flyers To Win (-250)

PENGUINS (+140) at LIGHTNING (-170), 7 p.m.

The Penguins (28-19-7) head to Amalie Arena to take on the league-leading Lightning (39-11-4) in what should be an exciting matchup. Pittsburgh has dropped three in a row and are 3-6-1 in their last 10. They are also without F Evgeni Malkin, who is out day-to-day (upper-body injury). Other notable injuries include F Zach Aston-Reese (IR with a fractured hand) and D Justin Schultz (IR with a fractured left leg). Can F Sydney Crosby take over this game and get the Pens off the skids? Maybe, but we think it’s unlikely.

The Lightning have an absurd home record of 20-5-1. Teams dread trips to Tampa Bay’s home ice. It could end up being another close contest due to the sheer talent on both teams but we like the Lightning’s odds on familiar ice.

Pick: Lightning To Win (-170)

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