The NHL has an exciting night of action on Saturday night. Twelve games are up on the board throughout the day on January 4. The Philadelphia Flyers and the Arizona Coyotes will meet up in one of these matchups on Saturday. These two teams have had strong starts to the season and will look to keep it up. This game will start at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
Philadelphia has started out this season with a record of 22-14-5, which has them in fifth place of the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers are currently sitting in the final wild card spot. Philadelphia has a two point lead on the Florida Panthers who are behind them. The Flyers have lost back to back and three of their last four games. Philadelphia will look to get back on track with a win on Saturday.
The Coyotes have posted a record of 23-16-4 to this point in the season, which has them in second place of the Pacific Division. Arizona is two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights and has a two point lead on the Vancouver Canucks, who are in third place. The Coyotes have won two in a row coming into this one and will look to keep their winning streak going against the Flyers.
These two teams have earned playoff spots to this point in the season. The Flyers and the Coyotes will look to keep their lead in the standings with a nice win on Saturday night. I expect both teams to come out strong in this one to control the game early. This will be the second and final meeting of the season series between these two teams.
These two teams met up twice last season as well in a home and home. Arizona hosted the first game of the season series. Claude Giroux had two goals and an assist, while Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere both had a goal and an assist to help the Flyers win 5-2. Shayne Gostisbehere scored in overtime of the second game to earn his second point as Philadelphia won 5-4.
Philadelphia hosted the first game of this season’s series on December 5. Phil Kessel opened up the scoring for the Coyotes. Conor Garland added onto the lead with a goal in the third, but Matt Niskanen quickly responded to make it 2-1. Kessel scored his second of the night on an empty netter to give the Flyers a 3-1 win. Darcy Kuemper stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced in the win.
The Coyotes were able to win the first game of this season’s series, but they had lost three games in a row to Philadelphia. Arizona will look to bounce back and sweep this season’s series, while the Flyers will look to tie it up. Philadelphia held the Coyotes to 17 shots in the first game of the season series, if they can get better goaltending in this one, they could pull off the win.
The Flyers have been around the middle of the league when it comes to special teams this season. Philadelphia has capitalized on 28 of their 139 power play attempts, which is a 20.1 percent success rate. The Flyers have stopped opposing teams on 23 of their 121 power play opportunities, which is an 81 percent penalty kill.
Arizona has been doing well on special teams throughout this season as well. The Coyotes have been able to score on 26 of their 131 power play chances, which is a 19.9 percent power play. Arizona’s penalty kill has been stronger. The Coyotes have held their opponents to a power play percentage of 82.5 percent on 21 goals on 120 attempts this season.
These two teams are very similar on special teams. Philadelphia’s power play has been slightly better this season, while the Coyotes have a slightly better penalty kill. I expect these two teams to be close on special teams, which means if either team can do better, I expect them to be able to pull off the win on Saturday night.
I expect Carter Hart to get the start in the crease for the Flyers on Saturday night. Hart has posted a record of 13-9-3 through 25 starts on the season. He has put up a save percentage of .908 and a 2.52 GAA throughout those starts. Hart’s last start was against the Vegas Golden Knights, where he stopped 28 of the 33 shots against him in a loss.
Antti Raanta will likely get the start in the net for Arizona in this matchup. Raanta has earned a record of 8-8-2 through 18 starts on the season. He has posted a .918 save percentage and a GAA of 2.76. Raanta’s last start came against the Anaheim Ducks, where he turned away 26 of the 28 shots against him in a winning effort.
These two goalies have put up similar stats throughout this season. Hart has done solid in the starting role, while Raanta has been the backup. Raanta has had to step up with Kuemper out for a little while. Raanta has won his last two starts, while Hart has lost three in a row. If Hart can bounce back in this one, it should help the Flyers get back on track with a big road win.
These two teams already met once this season, where the Coyotes were able to take the win on the road. I believe that the Flyers will earn a nice win on the road in this one though. Philadelphia matches up well with Arizona on special teams in this one and if the Flyers can score one or two, it could give them a big edge. Hart will need to step up in net to try and end his losing streak on Saturday night.
BetOnline has Arizona listed as a -125 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Coyotes will win this game around 55.6 percent of the time. I believe that with how these two teams have performed this season, it should be closer to even. The Flyers will look to change their game plan from their last loss to Arizona and I think they will bounce back with a nice win.