The New York Islanders start 2020 with a nationally televised game against the New Jersey Devils. Hopefully, they don’t play down to their opposition.
Over the month of December, the New York Islanders have gone 4-4-1 against teams currently outside of a playoff position. The Islanders just aren’t beating teams they should be beating.
Through their last five games against non-playoff teams, the Isles are 1-3-1 with a -7 goal differential. When playing lower-tier opponents, the Islanders find a way to somehow play down to their opponents.
At home, in a nationally televised game, the Islanders welcome the New Jersey Devils who are well out of the playoffs and struggling mightily. On paper, the Islanders are vastly superior to the Devils who recently lost their best player for a few prospects and some conditional picks. But will they be able to keep up their winning form?
Again, in every sense of the word, the Islanders are better than the Devils. The Isles have a better record, they score more goals (barely), they allow fewer goals against, and their special teams are more efficient.
But, we’ve seen the Islanders completely forget what makes them successful when the opposition isn’t of a higher caliber. And that’s a real shame. With the parity in this league, you can’t switch off for a second. The Devils might be at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but they can still make you pay if you don’t give them enough respect.
Tale of the Tape
There’s no question that the Islanders are the favorites in this game. They’re the home team and have a superior record. Courtesy of the Action Network, the Isles Moneyline is set at -210, at the time of writing. The Devils sit at +175.