While no teams have officially clinched a playoff spot or division title in the NHL yet, there are a few teams that are pretty much guaranteed to be in the postseason. Now is not the time for any of those teams to rest on their laurels, though, as they are all well aware of the importance of having home ice advantage once postseason play begins. Two teams that fall into this category, the New York Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks meet up at the United Center on Tuesday night. Check who is favorite on our NHL Odds preview.Time: Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ETVenue: United Center, ChicagoNational TV: noneOpening line: Chicago -147, New York +133 (5.5 goals)
NHL Odds Analysis and Game PreviewThe Islanders had spent a lot of time sitting atop the Metropolitan Division, but have now been overtaken by a New York Rangers team that is one of the hottest in the NHL right now. The change in position is not just all about the play of the Rangers, though, as the Islanders have really not been playing very well as of late. They are just 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, and are currently on a 3-game losing streak, with all of those losses coming on home ice. It’s not often that a team looks forward to a road trip, but a change of scenery may well be what this team needs to break out of this current slump. They will have a short 2-game trip before returning home for what looks to be a pretty tough 4-game home stand. Given how well they played earlier in the season, the Islanders should still have done enough to book their ticket to the playoffs.
After the most recent slump, where do the #Isles fit in? #NHL #Islanders #Tavares #Halak #NYI http://t.co/uE2B6i7omg— Eyes on Isles (@eyesonislesFS) March 16, 2015The Chicago Blackhawks are going through something of a similar experience as the Islanders, as they have become pretty inconsistent since losing Patrick Kane to injury. That said, they do seem to have turned the corner, and have won 4 of their last 5 games. The game versus the Islanders will be a short home stop before the Blackhawks have to head back on the road for another 4 games. Their 21-9-5 record at home this season is pretty solid, but they have been almost equally as good on the road. Chicago is another team that looks to have done enough to book a playoff spot, and the good news is that Kane may be ready to return when postseason play gets started.