NHL Betting Matchup of the Week: New York Islanders at Chicago Blackhawks

The National Hockey League will once again be taking a small break in games around Christmas time, but things will heat back up on Friday night. The New York Islanders will be in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks and this is our NHL Betting Matchup of the Week. New York is one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and the Blackhawks are near the bottom in the Western Conference.

Chicago has just 15 wins in their first 37 games, and points have been hard to come by. The Blackhawks have been playing better hockey of late, but there are still plenty of flaws on this team. The New York Islanders have been playing great hockey all season long, and sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division. New York is trying to track down the Washington Capitals.

Islanders Still Need More Scoring

The New York Islanders look like a contender in the Eastern Conference this season, but they could still do some more scoring. The Islanders are averaging less than three goals per game, and it's hard to win that way. Center Mathew Barzal leads the team with 15 goals and 15 assists, but he is going to need some help. New York does convert on 22 percent of their power play chances, but need to be better in even strength.

Defense and goaltending has carried the Islanders this season, and they will look to continue that after the Christmas break. The Islanders are allowing less than 2.6 goals per game, and they are terrific on their back end. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov has stopped 92 percent of shots this season, and has posted a pair of shutouts.

Goaltending Keeping Hawks Alive

The Chicago Blackhawks have a ton of things to fix in the new year, but their goaltending duo is not one of them. Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford have combined to stop close to 92 percent of shots this season, and they have seen a ton of them. The Blackhawks have killed of 80 percent of their own penalties, but they don't usually give their netminders much help.

Patrick Kane is off to another great start for the Chicago Blackhawks and leads the team in nearly every category. Kane leads the way with 20 goals, 26 assists and 46 points and is always deadly with the puck in his hands. The Blackhawks are converting on just 16 percent of their power play chances, and they have to score goals to win any games.

Blackhawks Can't Keep Up With Islanders

Goals might be hard to come by in this game, as both teams feature some terrific goaltending. Chicago plays a style of hockey that should give the Islanders some room to operate, and that is going to prove costly in this game. New York has been scoring at a higher rate over the last few weeks, and they will find room to operate in this one. The Blackhawks just aren't consistent enough to trust. Bet the New York Islanders over the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Betting Matchup of the Week.