NY Islanders (31-19-7) at Minnesota (27-22-10)
When: Tuesday, February 23rd 2016
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: MSG-Plus 2, FSN North
The Minnesota Wild look to stay hot when they host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. Minnesota’s losing streak reached eight games last week which prompted the firing of head coach Mike Yeo. John Torchetti took over and the Wild have shown a spark in their offense and have now won four-straight. Thirteen different players have scored as the Wild have outscored its foes by a 21-8 margin in those four games, highlighted by a 6-1 rout of Central Division-rival Chicago during a Stadium Series game on Sunday. Minnesota has scored five power-play goals in their last four games and ten in the last ten. Erik Haula, who was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week on Monday, recorded his first career three-point game against Chicago and has two goals and five assists under Torchetti. Veteran Jason Pominville scored three goals and set up three others in the last three games while Nino Niederreiter collected two goals and three assists in the last four games. Niederreiter had one of each against his former the Islanders in a loss on February 2nd.
The Islanders have been on a nice run of their own going 5-1-1 in their last seven contests after opening up a seven-game road trip with a 1-0 win at New Jersey on Friday. Casey Cizikas scored the lone goal early in the first period to increase his point total to five (two goals, three assists) in his last five games. Defenseman Nick Leddy has increased his point total from the blue line scoring a goal and notching four assists during his current five-game point streak. Defenseman Ryan Pulock, 21, is in line to make his NHL debut on Tuesday after being recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. The 15th overall pick of the 2013 draft, Pulock was summoned after fellow blue-liner Calvin de Haan (lower body) was placed on injured reserve. Goalie Thomas Greiss has been taking time away from Jaroslav Halak in net by winning five of his seven starts since January 1st, but it was Halak who came up with the 1-0 shutout win over the Devils on Friday. The top three teams in each division make the playoffs and the Islanders currently have a one-point lead over Pittsburgh for third in the Metropolitan with a game in hand.
I have to ride this Minnesota hot streak right now despite the Islanders playing some good hockey themselves. The Wild are just a point away from Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot out West.
Pick: Wild -124