Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (87) during the third period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the New York Islanders, Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. The Islanders won 4-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
- The Islanders and Penguins play Game 5 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series on Monday, May 24th (7 pm ET)
- Ilya Sorokin allowed just one goal in net against Pittsburgh in Game 4 and could get the start again.
- Read below for the odds, game preview, and betting pick
The New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins clash once again. Game 5 will be played on Monday, May 24th (7:00 pm ET) at PPG Paints Arena and will be broadcast on NBCSN.
Pittsburgh is listed as slight -127 home favorites to win Game 5 of the series despite losing big in Game 4.
Should you bet the Pittsburgh Penguins to take the pivotal fifth game and the 3-2 series lead?
Islanders vs Penguins Odds – Game 5
|Team||Moneyline at DraftKings||Spread||Total|
|New York Islanders||+110||+1.5 (-265)||O 5.5 (+114)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||-127||-1.5 (+205)||U 5.5 (-139)|
Odds as of May 23rd.
Where is Sidney Crosby?
Arguably this has been one of the weirder series since the last best-of-seven between the two teams in 2019 for Sidney Crosby. Then, Crosby recorded just one assist in a four game sweep by the New York Islanders. This time, there is a series split. However, in four games, the Pittsburgh center has just a goal on 14 shots. The shots and chances have been there but the execution has been lacking.
There are just some wild and crazy numbers everywhere for the 33-year-old. Crosby has been held down to a career playoff low 40.7% faceoff percentage. Also, he has just three takeaways yet no giveaways. It just ranks in as one of those odd postseasons as the Jean-Gabriel Pageau line has mostly held down the Crosby line. His linemates, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel, both have one point each themselves.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have combined for one shot on goal (from Crosby) with under 2:00 to go. #Pens
— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) May 22, 2021
The short-term effect of Game 4 definitely has a little fallout. Crosby was virtually invisible again. In the first three games, Crosby at least had a good number of chances. He even made critical plays in Games 2 and 3 to help Pittsburgh win. However, the lack of offense from the top line has led to the inevitable question.
Should the top line be changed?
When does Evgeni Malkin return to form? Malkin returned in Game 4 and took three minors and fired no shots on goal. Crosby did finish with two shots on goal but just one scoring chance. Pittsburgh needs to get Crosby going offensively if they expect to ultimately win this series.
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Ilya Sorokin’s Play Opens Questions
Now, somewhat lost in the comings and goings of this series has been the play of Ilya Sorokin. The Islanders’ backup goaltender has been great in two starts. The young Russian netminder has stopped 68 of 72 shots and more importantly has both wins for New York in this series.
Sorokin has had a rock-solid rookie season for the New York Islanders. In 22 games, the goaltender had 13 wins and a 2.17 goals-against-average with a .918 save percentage. This included three shutouts and a sparkling .714 quality start percentage.
#Isles netminder Ilya Sorokin has faced 15 high danger chances this postseason through two games.
He stopped 13.
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) May 23, 2021
Can we expect this going forward? That is the question. Sorokin is definitely forcing Barry Trotz’s hand as who to start for Game 5. Sergei Varlamov has two losses with a 3.61 goals-against-average and just a .903 save percentage. Varlamov has looked out of sorts while Sorokin’s calm demeanor has been a major difference-maker. The goalie who gives New York the best chance to win on the road is Ilya Sorokin right now.
Islanders vs Penguins Series Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
|New York Islanders||+102|
Islanders vs Penguins Game 5 Best Bet
The Penguins are very slight favorites to win Game 5 and the series because they have enough of an offensive advantage to overcome the Islanders’ defense and goaltending. There are quite a few dilemmas to consider here when trying to decide who to pick in this potentially series-changing Game 5. The big question is does the Penguins offense show up with both Crosby and Malkin on the ice?
“Our whole team is not happy right now.” I wonder how Evgeni Malkin and the rest of his teammates feeling this morning? We’ve got a series folks! @JennaHarner11 & @albyox are breaking down yesterday‘s loss and hearing from the team on how they rebound from yesterday. NOW ON 11!
— Joe Arena (@WPXIJoe) May 23, 2021
For Pittsburgh, maybe it is about playing angry. Their expected goals for were even with the Islanders at even strength at least. Possession numbers were around 60% and if that continues, Pittsburgh should score a few more goals at home. The Penguins’ offense should be enough to win Game 5. Take Pittsburgh as slight favorites and even consider the series odds (-125).
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins Moneyline (-127)
A journalist veteran for over two decades, Chris has taught the gamut of fantasy hockey sports online from injuries to news to prospects, and more. He has bet on several sports and written sports betting articles about the NBA, MLB, NCAA football, the NFL, and NHL for USA Today.