Date/Time: May 11th, 7:00 PM ET
Television: NBC Sports Network
Moneyline: Penguins -170
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had to fight a whole heck of a lot harder against the New York Islanders than they ever imagined they would have had to. Now, they are going to get a chance to close out this series on Saturday night in NHL betting action at the Nassau Coliseum.
When you look back at the history of this series, you’d think that this would certainly be said and done with. The Penguins have posted two shutouts. They have scored at least three goals in all five games. They have averaged 4.2 goals per game and have conceded just 2.8 goals per game. C Evgeni Malkin has nine points, while both C Sidney Crosby and RW Jarome Iginla have eight points. Three others have at least five points. You’d think that this series would be said and done with knowing that numbers such as those, right? Alas, the lead is only 3-2, and the problems are still numerous for the Penguins. They are allowing far too many opportunities to the Isles in this series, and if they leave the door open once again, the men from Long Island are going to ultimately get the job done and force this series to a do or die Game 7 in the Steel City, something that no Penguins fan truly wants to see.
New York is in some trouble, and we know it. However, just to think that it could get this series this far, especially after losing 5-0 in the opening game, is remarkable in and of itself. The Islanders only have one player, D Mark Streit that has five points in five games, while the rest of the team is stuck on four points or fewer. Whether it be C John Tavares or RW Kyle Okposo that steps it up, someone is going to have to do the job offensively in this one to get the Islanders back to the Steel City this weekend. G Evgeni Nabokov is simply overmatched when the puck is in the New York zone, and he clearly has the worst numbers of any net minder in these playoffs. He has a 4.68 GAA and has been yanked twice in five games (and he probably should have been pulled at some point in the three others as well). That being said, this is Nabokov’s net to mind at this point, and he is going to have to come up with the best game that he has played in years for the Islanders to stretch this series out even more than it already has.
We really don’t have much of a justification for it, but we are going to take the Islanders in Game 6. This would be the most lopsided 3-3 series we have ever seen, but what we know about these boys from the Island is that they have heart and a ton of drive, and we think they will figure out how to win this one, by hook or by crook on Saturday to keep the pressure on the already sweating Penguins.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders Pick: New York Islanders +160
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.