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Hockey Betting - Don't Fan On This Shot at a Winning NHL Play

Today we're gliding into a little NHL action, as we'll be analyzing a game between the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils, at the Nassau Coliseum (7:05 PM ET, Thursday).

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And we want you to take note that as we post this play, it is based on odds that are for regulation time only. You will find those options and others in the user-friendly sportsbook interface at MyBookie.

New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders Pick

Devils vs. Islanders Game Preview

When: 7:05 PM ET

Three-Way Money Line (Regulation Time Only):

New York Islanders -106 / New Jersey Devils +217 / Draw +307

Total (Regulation Time Only):

Over 5 Goals (-129) / Under 5 Goals (+100)

After pitching an opening-game shutout against the Rangers, goalie Semyon Varlamov took a puck to the throat during warmups right before the return match. So Ilya Sorokin finally got to play in the NHL, and in Barry Trotz's words, the team "hung him out to dry" in a 5-0 loss to the Rangers.

Thank goodness Varlamov was able to come back for another shutout performance against Boston. The NHL has been using pucks with embedded tracking technology, and Bruins fans, seeking an excuse, mused that there was something in that device that directed the puck away from enemy nets when Boston was shooting.

Last we heard, Isles center Josh Bailey is on the COVID-19 protocol list, so the speculation is that he may be out for at least four games. He's scoreless thus far, but Adam Pelech has proven just how valuable he was in his absence last post-season; the defenseman notched the decisive goal against the Bruins with just 4:09 left.

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So far Varlamov has faced 51 shots without fail. Last season he posted back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs, the first Islander goalie to have done that. But the former Russian national team goaltender has had his ups and downs over the years. Look - if the Islanders were so incredibly convinced about him, they wouldn't have put $2 million in Sorokin's hands.

But let's be honest here; when you lead your team, a proud franchise, to its longest Stanley Cup playoff run in 27 years, reaching the conference finals, and then start the next season hot, you deserve all the consideration in the world. Trotz, a no-nonsense guy who led Nashville to seven playoff appearances before capturing a Cup title with Washington, will give it to him, even though there's been a lot of hype surrounding Sorokin.

The Devils caught a bad break before the season even began. They had given Corey Crawford, who won two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks, a two-year contract for $7.8 million. But citing various "personal problems," Crawford retired before he ever saw action. That left Mackenzie Blackwood as the principal netminder, and he's not green, having played in 47 games last season.

Blackwood has been under siege, facing 115 shots on goal thus far. When he allowed three scores against the Rangers the other night, it was an effort where the pressure came extremely back-loaded. After one period, the Rangers had only seven shots on goal. Then they served up an onslaught of 22 in the second period and 21 in the third. Two of the three New York goals came with a man advantage and Blackwood snuffed out a couple of power plays in the final stanza.

In other words, he stood up pretty well.

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The Devils missed the 24-team playoff tournament last season, and not much has been expected of them this year. But there's a variable here. Immensely talented center Jack Hughes had a rather quiet rookie campaign after being taken #1 in the draft, with 21 points in 61 games. But he is showing some signs that he may be ready to bust out. It's still early, but Hughes has six points in three games, and against the Rangers last time out he had two goals and an assist, with another assist on PK Subban's goal overturned with a replay and offsides call.

One thing to be worried about with New Jersey, however, is that the shot differential is already minus-34. That means they have been out-shot by an average of over eleven per game. It's really difficult to hold up for that long with negative numbers like that.

And speaking of negatives, both of these clubs have negative Fenwick 5 v 5 figures (related to puck possession in the offensive zone); they are two of the bottom teams in the league in scoring chances, and they are - albeit in this small sampling - impotent on the power play, converting in the 10-12% range.

Maybe the Devils are playing over their heads right now. But they have a goalie with a .987 save percentage at even strength. And we've already discussed Varlamov. We would prefer the total, and a low-scoring game.

The Play: UNDER 5 (+100) -> Read Our Over/Under Betting Guide

(regulation time only)

About the Author

Charles Jay is unlike most analysts associated with handicapping and the gaming industry, in that he also has had extensive experience in the so-called "mainstream" media as well.

He has been involved with professional sports industry for almost two decades, working in all capacities, as a matchmaker, booking agent, manager, and also as an editorial consultant on USA Network's "Tuesday Night Fights," which, for a time, carried "Charles Jay's Line" on upcoming fights. As a broadcaster, he has called world title fights around the world for various outlets, and has served as a color commentator for Sunshine Network and Prime Network.

His radio experience includes being the host of numerous programs, including "Sportswatch with Charles Jay" on KDWN in Las Vegas, "Total Action" on WAXY 790 in Miami, and "Charles Jay's Winning Edge", syndicated into 55 markets by the American Radio Networks, and he's done podcasts on all subjects related to sports, gaming and popular culture.

Working within the casino industry, he has a special events consultant for Casino Magic in Mississippi, as that venue established itself in the early 1990s as a hotbed of boxing activity in particular. Prior to this, he had been engaged as a casino gaming columnist for, among others, Casino Player, Card Player and Sports Form (now known as Gaming Today), specializing in blackjack. And later on, his investigative series on boxing, entitled "Operation Cleanup," won him much critical acclaim, including the 2003 "Dignity" Award, in the category of "Best Sports Writer," as bestowed by the Retired Boxers Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to rendering assistance to ex-fighters in need.

In 2006 he established a content services division of his company, which has eventually evolved in JayWords, and he is arguably the world's most prolific sports & gaming writer, with over 20,000 articles to his credit, the vast majority of which have been sports handicapping pieces. So you might say he has analyzed as many sporting events as anyone alive during this period. He has also brought some interest with his so-called "gimmick" odds on special events, including the Academy Awards, the NFL Draft, and the Super Bowl, for which he posted dozens and dozens of different odds propositions with various sportsbooks.

This renaissance man is a winner of the Retired Boxers Foundation's "Dignity Award" and a member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame; graduate of the University of Miami (Florida) who currently resides in the South Florida area.