Edmonton (2-0) at NY Islanders (1-1)
When: Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
Where: Barclays Center,
Brooklyn, New York
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: MSG-Plus
Opening Odds: New York -140/5.5
The 2018-19 season was another disappointment for the Edmonton Oilers, but a new season brings new optimism for the northern-most team in the NHL. The Oilers took care of business against fellow Pacific Division opponents at home and will play their first road game on Tuesday in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders. Edmonton made some moves in an attempt to bolster the veteran presence on the team, such as the acquisition of James Neal and goaltender Mike Smith. Smith has won each of his first two games and Neal scored twice on Saturday. It’s not yet determined who will be in net for the Oilers. Mikko Koskinen is expected to have an equal shot at winning the starting job for Edmonton, but Smith has shown that he’s still a capable starter. For the Islanders, it’s more of the same from last season. Goalie Robin Lehner left for the Blackhawks during the offseason, but New York picked up Semyon Varlamov to take his place. Varlamov is expected to share the crease with Thomas Greiss this year in hopes of recreating last year’s Jennings Trophy performance. The teams split their two games last season with the home team winning both in the span of five days back in February.
Neal was acquired from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Milan Lucic and gives Edmonton more depth behind captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Neal recorded at least 20 goals in 10 straight seasons, but was limited to seven last season with the Flames. His two goals in Saturday’s 6-5 win over Los Angeles were both on the power play. McDavid has rebounded nicely after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year and has two goals and three assists in two games so far. McDavid has four goals and seven points in eight games versus New York.
The Islanders are fortunate to have two capable goaltenders this season, but at some point one might get a little disgruntled being on the bench. Greiss posted career bests of a 2.28 goals-against average and .927 save percentage, but found himself on the bench in favor of Varlamov in the season opener. Greiss responded by turning aside 35 of 36 Winnipeg shots in the 4-1 win after Varlamov was on the losing end of a 2-1 setback to the Washington Capitals two days prior. Forward Josh Bailey will become the sixth player in franchise history to appear in 800 games on Tuesday night.
Edmonton is off to a nice start but the road was unkind to them a season ago and they just can’t seem to beat the Islanders no matter which building they play in. New York is 10-0-2 in the last 12 meetings with the Oilers at home. I’ll take the Isles in a close game.
Pick: Islanders -150