Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
In the Crease - Week 22
Editor's Note: Don't miss out on 30 days of Winning Hockey Picks from Joe Williams for the 2018-19 NHL regular season. Click to win!
The New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers played in back-to-back seasons for the Stanley Cup. In 1983, the Islanders swept the Oilers in four games for their fourth consecutive championship. In 1984, Wayne Gretzky and the Glen Sather-coached Oilers had other ideas, ruining the 'One for the Thumb' pursuit which the Islanders still have never accomplished.
These historic NHL franchises will meet in Edmonton on Thursday night. The Islanders have overachieved this season, and are smack-dab in the middle of the playoff chase. The Oilers, well, at least they have 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990 to fall back on, as they aren't likely to be back to a Stanley Cup Finals anytime soon despite the fact they employ one of the most dynamic scorers in the game. New York enters Thursday's game as slight road favorites despite being the more superior team. The Isles will be playing in a back-to-back situation, and they're 10-1 in their past 11 playing on zero days of rest. They're also 5-1 in the past six as a favorite, and 9-2 in the past 11 aginst Western Conference teams.
The Oilers have won just six of the past 26 meetings, and they're a dismal 2-12 in the past 14 games at home. In addition, they have dropped seven in a row against teams from the Eastern Conference, and they're 0-5 in the past five against Metropolitan Division foes. The good news, if there is any, is that Edmonton has won seven of the past eight at home against the Isles.
Thursday, Feb. 21
Washington at Toronto: The Capitals have started to put things together after a skid before the All-Star break which culminated with a 6-3 loss in Toronto on Jan. 23. The Leafs limp home after a six-game road trip, going 3-2-1, but totaling just two goals over the past two outings. Meanwhile, the Caps have alternated wins and losses in each of the past seven games, winning in Los Angeles on Monday to wrap up a four-game road trip of their own. The Caps have won 13 of the past 19 in this series, and the favorite is 20-7 in the past 27 meetings. The 'over' is 8-2 in the past 10 meetings in Toronto, too.
San Jose at Pittsburgh: We get a possible Stanley Cup Finals preview, although the Tampa Bay Lightning certainly have something to say about that. San Jose enters 5-0 in the past five road games while going 7-2 in the past nine overall. The Sharks are also 7-3 in the past 10 against teams with a winning record. The Penguins have won four of the past five, and they're 23-10 in the past 33 against Western Conference teams. While the Pens are 0-4 in the past four against teams with a winning record, Pittsburgh is 4-1 in their past five at home against San Jose.
St. Louis at Dallas: The Blues hit the road for the Metroplex looking to stay hot. St. Louis has won eight in a row on the road, and they're 6-0 in the past six against teams with a losing record. They're also 7-0 in the past seven as a favorite. The Stars have been a little better, going 4-1 in the past five at home while hitting in nine of their past 13 as a home underdog. However, they're 1-5 in the past six overall while going 0-4 in the past four against teams with a winning record. It will be a test for the Blues, if they want to stay hot. St. Louis is 1-4 in the past five meetings, and the home team is 6-2 in the past eight in this series.
Friday, Feb. 22
Colorado at Chicago: The Avalanche hit the road for Chicago, and they're just 16-35 in the past 51 as a road underdog. Colorado fired out of the chute this season, but they have won just eight of their past 31 games, too, going from a team which looked championship caliber to one which could easily miss the playoffs in the Western Conference. On the flip side, the Blackhawks looked to be dead in the water, made a coaching change, and suddenly they're red hot again. They have won 10 of the past 12 overall, they're 6-1 in the past seven at home and 4-0 in the past four as a favorite. The 'over' has also been the way to go on Chicago games, cashing in eight of their past 11 against the Central Division, while going 15-5-1 in their past 21 at home.
Winnipeg at Vegas: The Jets land in Vegas looking to get untracked. They're just 2-5 in the past seven road games, although they are an impressive 10-4 in the past 14 against teams with a winning record. The Golden Knights have been skidding, which is about as rare as the snow which fell in Las Vegas this week. The Knights have won just one of the psat six overall, and they're 2-5 in the past seven against winning teams. Vegas is also just 1-6 in the past seven at home. The 'under' is also 5-1-1 in the past seven meetings in this series.
Saturday, Feb. 23
Boston at St. Louis: Two of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League hook up in St. Louis in matinee action. The Blues will be looking to avenge a 5-2 loss in Beantown back on Jan. 17, as Tuukka Rask outperformed Josh Allen on that day. Even a month ago, Jordan Binnington was just bursting onto the scene and nobody knew he was going to be a game changer. The Blues won their 11th consecutive game on Tuesday, topping the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. Boston won 3-2 on Wednesday in snowy Vegas (I know, it's still strange) in a shootout to fire out to a 4-0-0 record on their road trip, while picking up a seventh straight win.
Montreal at Toronto: The Maple Leafs head into this one with a six-game winning streak in tow against the Canadiens, arguably their biggest rival. Three of the past six have been decided by one goal, however, and four of the past seven battles have been decided in overtime. Toronto has averaged 4.2 goals per game during the six-game winning streak against the Habs.
Anaheim at Edmonton: The Ducks travel to meet the Oilers in what could only be termed the 'Disappointment Bowl'. These two teams expected so much more. While neither is out of the playoff chase in the Western Conference, they need wins like this one.
When the Ducks and Oilers get together, it has been a tight, hard-checking and close game. In fact, eight of the past nine have been one-goal games, with six of those outings decided either in overtime or a shootout. Four straight battles in Edmonton have resulted in overtime or a shootout, and five consecutive battles in Alberta between these two teams has resulted in a one-goal game. In fact, over the past 11 meetings in this series the teams have both scored 30 goals. That's how close it has been.
Sunday, Feb. 24
St. Louis at Minnesota: The Blues have been red-hot lately, including a 4-0 win in St. Paul on Feb. 17. In a scheduling quirk these teams meet for the second consecutive Sunday. Despite that loss last week, the Wild are actually 5-1 in the past six regular season meetings. So far this season the road team is a perfect 3-0, too. Over the past 10 meetings in this series the Wild has outscored the Blues 36-23.