NHL Betting Preview: New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers – Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021

The Battle of New York continues Saturday night with a rematch of Thursday’s season opener, as the Rangers host the Islanders. The Isles won Thursday’s game in a 4-0 shutout.

Puck drop is at 7:00 P.M. Eastern. The Islanders are favorites at (-118), while the underdog Rangers are (+102)

Thursday Recap

The Islanders brought their A-game Thursday and came out of the gates firing. Brock Nelson scored on the power play two and a half minutes into the game, and Anders Lee scored another 1:19 later. Fresh off signing his three-year, $21 million contract extension, Mathew Barzal got in the scoring fun, giving the Islanders a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period.

Lee added his second goal of the game on the power play in the second period, and the Rangers had no answer. Semyon Varlamov stopped all 24 shots he faced, and the Islanders cruised to a 4-0 win.

The first overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Alexis Lafrenière, made his NHL debut. He recorded a shot, hit, blocked shot, and a penalty in 13:21 of ice time.

Islanders Saturday Preview

The Islanders don’t need to make many changes Saturday to keep up the success. Their defensive systems limited the Rangers’ chances and stifled the power play. They moved the puck well in the offensive zone, outshooting the Rangers 33-24 on the game.

The main question heading into Saturday is: Who will get the start in net? The Islanders have not announced a starter as of posting. If it’s Varlamov once more, the start would be justified as he played well Thursday. However, head coach Barry Trotz could decide to go with rookie netminder Ilya Sorokin, who would be making his NHL debut if he gets the nod.

Sorokin posted a 26-10-3 record with a 1.50 GAA, a .945 save percentage, and nine shutouts with CSKA Moscow of the KHL last year. The Islanders drafted Sorokin in the third round of the 2014 Draft.

Rangers Saturday Preview

There’s a lot to unpack with a 4-0 shutout in the opener. The Rangers came out sluggish defensively, with all three first period goals coming in high-danger situations. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin looked shaky in net, letting one goal in off his arm on a shot he’s expected to stop.

The biggest problem, however, was the lack of discipline. The Rangers gave the Islanders eight power play opportunities throughout the game, and the Isles capitalized on two of them. Defenseman Tony DeAngelo disagreed with holding penalty call against him, slammed the penalty box door and picked up an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Rangers must play a more disciplined game to win Saturday.

They’ll be making a change in net Saturday as well, giving Alexandar Georgiev the start in net. Georgiev went 17-14-2 with the Rangers a year ago, along with a 3.04 GAA, a .910 save percentage and two shutouts.

The Pick is In

The Rangers’ last win came back on March 10, 2020, as Carolina swept them out of the playoff bubble. They’ll have to keep waiting for that next win to come. Take the Islanders to win Saturday, regardless of who gets the start in net.

Spooky Express Free Pick: New York Islanders (-118)

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