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NHL Free Pick | Rangers at Islanders

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The battle for New York is on. The Islanders will play host to the Rangers on Sunday night looking to overtake Washington for the lead in the NHL East.
The Islanders have won their last three straight and six of their last eight. They also own two victories in three tries over their crosstown rivals this season
Each of those three games was a shutout and that is where we will find value in Sunday’s matchup.


Game: New York Rangers (18-15-5, 26-12 ATS) at New York Islanders (25-10-4, 23-16 ATS)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday, April 11, 2021
Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Brooklyn, New York
Current Line: OFF Total: OFF
TV Coverage: ESPN+
The Rangers and Islanders met in a two-game series to start up the 2021 season. The Islanders rolled to a 4-0 win in Game 1 on January 14. Two days later, the Rangers returned the favor with a 5-0 shutout victory.
While both games were shutouts, there was another common theme. In both games, the total was set at 6. The Islanders have never seen a total that high since. In every single game since Jan. 16, the game total for the Islanders has been either 5.5 or 5.
Our pick last weekend hit, when we took the UNDER in our Arizona at Anaheim free pick. Go take a look at what we said.
There’s a good reason for that. The Islanders have the NHL’s best defense. The goaltending has been outstanding as well. Semyon Varlamov sports an overall record of 16-7-3 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.

The Islanders are currently second in goals allowed per game yielding just 2.28. They rank second in defensive shots and second in defensive power plays allowed. The bottom line is simply that New York just doesn’t give up many goals.


In their last 19 games, the Islanders have given up four goals just twice. One of those was in an 8-4 win over Washington, the team the Isles are battling for East Division supremacy.

As good as the Islanders are on defense, the Rangers aren’t far behind. They rank 12th in goals allowed per game at 2.66. The Rangers have won three of their last four and gave up three goals or fewer in all but one. That was an 8-4 win over Pittsburgh in their most recent game.
Because of these two teams’ defenses, the play in this game is on the total. These two rivals are going to battle as they have in their previous three games and the total is going Under. Just as it has in those previous three games.

The total will likely be set at 5.5. Remember, the Islanders haven’t faced a total higher than that since the beginning of the season. It might even fall to 5. Regardless, the play is still on the Under.
The total has gone Under in three of the Islanders last four games. In all four games, the total was set at 5.5 at top online sportsbooks.

The total has gone Under in two of the last three Rangers games. The Rangers faced two 6s and a 5.5. The game at 5.5 was one of the two that went Under.

Both teams trend to the Under - the Islanders at 22-16 and the Rangers at 21-15.
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