The rest of the NHL may not be giving the New York Islanders their due respect, but the oddsmakers seem to be jumping on board the hype train.
The Islanders are in the middle of a four-game road trip and have won three straight games after snapping a two-game skid. And after being knocked out of the top slot in the East Division for a short time, they’re back in the top spot with a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals.
Despite the success so far, the NHL has been slow to take notice of the team’s success, even with a perfect record over the Boston Bruins. They captured their latest victory over Boston on Thursday in a come-from-behind overtime win at TD Garden.
“We got the two points,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “That’s all we care about, collecting points.”
What has made the Islanders so successful has been their ability to close out games this season. The Islanders have outscored their opponents 41-22 with a +19 differential, according to statistician Eric Hornick.
New York had entered Thursday’s game trailing 2-1 and then scored twice in the final 20 minutes.
In addition, the Islanders have benefited from the offensive explosion of rookie Oliver Wahlstrom, who is riding a five-game point streak (four goals, two assists). Wahlstrom has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) through 27 games. His nine goals rank him third in rookie goal-scoring this season in the NHL.
All of that has combined for the Islanders to end the week as the favorite to win the East Divison with +150 odds. That could change with the Islanders set to battle the pesky Pittsburgh Penguins over the weekend and the Washington Capitals facing the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.
While Pittsburgh has +700 odds to win the division, they have been a thorn in the Islanders’ side all season long. In six meetings in the month of February, the Islanders went 2-2-2 against Pittsburgh. In their last two games against one another New York has picked up at least a point in each.
Second-place Washington has +165 odds to win the division, while Boston has +300 odds to take the east.
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