New York Rangers and New York Islanders will face each other in Madison Square Garden on Sunday evening in their first prep match. The hosts didn’t enjoy their preseason in 2019/2020, as they celebrated only twice in seven games. The away side had a better preseason record last time, as they booked six wins on eight occasions.
New York Rangers missed the chance to secure a playoff spot last season, as they finished fifth in the East Division. A poor streak at the end of the regular season cost them a chance to enter the knockout round. New York Islanders were one place ahead of their upcoming rivals, and they went to the post-season with a 32-24 record. Both sides are back to the Metropolitan Division, and they want to fight for a place in the playoffs.
New York Rangers – Can they take a considerable step?
The Rangers were the best non-playoff team last season, and they want to go to post-season this time. They had a solid break, and many think it is time for the Rangers to step up in the NHL 2021/22 season. New York Rangers booked 27 wins in the East Division but stayed eleven points behind the Islanders.
The home side has a couple of good additions to the roster, and the rebuild seems to be completed. The Rangers are back to the Metropolitan Division, where they can definitely be competitive. The Rangers will be hard to play against, especially with Gerard Gallant’s approach. He insists on the physical game, and we can see a big battle for the playoffs spot. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Rangers snatch a wild card spot, but they are definitely a playoff candidate.
Expected Line-Up: Igor Shesterkin, Ryan Lindgren, Adam Fox, Alexis Lafreniere, Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko
with best odds
New York Islanders – Can they have another good campaign?
The Lightning eliminated the Islanders in Round 3 for the second time in a row, and the visitors aim for another playoff battle. Although they are not too attractive on the paper, their results speak of a compact team capable of going far in the playoffs. They eventually lost to the defending champions, who needed seven games to beat them. The Islanders had a 32-17-7 record last season, and they are among the hottest candidates for the playoffs spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Several veterans left the Islanders in the off-season, but they got some fresh replacements. A good thing for the visitors is that they don’t draw all the strength from one player. Their coach Barry Trotz insists on a team play, and it brings good results to New York Islanders. They could be successful in the regular season once again, and anything is possible in the playoffs. One thing is sure – it will be hard to play against the Islanders.
Expected Line-Up: Semyon Varlamov, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Leo Komarov, Matthew Barzal, Josh Bailey
Expert Pick #1 – New York Islanders to Win ML @+155
It will be a close matchup, and it can go either way. It is the first prep match in the NHL 2021/22 season, and I’m still waiting for the real action to make some bold tips. However, I believe the Islanders might celebrate in this one, and the odds are pretty attractive. I’ll dip into the moneylines market, including a tie, and go for the Islanders as the first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 5.5 @-122
The Islanders haven’t been much productive last season, while they did an excellent defensive job. New York Rangers have been involved in more efficient games, and although this is an early preseason, I don’t think the Islanders will give up on their playing style. Therefore, I expect to see a tight match in which shouldn’t be more than 5.5 goals. I’ll take that as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – New York Islanders +1.5 @-290
For those who are searching for safer odds, I’ll pick the Islanders on the spread market. The game should be tight, and if they don’t win, New York Islanders shouldn’t lose by more than a goal. Still, this is the preseason, so be careful with your stakes until the real deal starts.