Bad beat city in the NHL last season, as the Nashville Predators blew a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period and then blew a 5-4 lead with seconds remaining in regulation. The Flames buried the game-tying goal and then Matthew Tkachuk netted an early Goal of the Year candidate with a between the legs shot over Pekka Rinne’s shoulder for the win with 2 seconds left on the clock in overtime. With Rinne between the pipes, and the Flames cold offensively for the previous eight periods, a win on the Predators going into the final period looked pretty good. That may have been the game the Flames’ offence needed to wake up from their slumber.
With only two losses for my NHL picks the last two weeks, the Sabres on Monday and Predators last night spoiled what would have been an epic run. It’s tough to swallow considering each loss came in overtime, but generally, the fortunate and bad beats weigh themselves out by the end of the season.
We hope to avoid the bad beats on Friday and finish up the work week on a high note. Our first stop in the NHL is in Newark where the Flyers and Devils will do battle at the Prudential Center. Speaking of closing out games, the Devils have had a heck of a time doing that this season.
The Devils know how the Predators felt last night, because they’re growing accustomed to blowing leads in the 3rd period. New Jersey had the Lightning on the ropes, but they let them off the hook. It wasn’t a particularly special performance by the Lightning.
Though, they managed to record 7 goals on just 23 shots. The defensive and goaltending issues are alive and well in New Jersey. Cory Schneider was embarrassed with a 0.696 save percentage. In any event, it was an entertaining game and the NHL would love to see some more games like that this season. The Flyers are coming off an embarrassing outing of their own, as they fell by a score of 7-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. We’ll see who can respond with a positive showing tonight. Head below for our free Flyers vs. Devils pick.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. N.J. Devils Pick
Cory Schneider’s struggles go back to last season as well. He was banged up and never looked like the guy the Devils had in mind when they signed him to an extension. Schneider made just 23 starts a season ago, with Keith Kinkaid and MacKenzie Blackwood getting the bulk of the appearances between the pipes. He finished with a 3.06 GAA and 0.903 save percentage in those 23 outings. Schneider has regressed every season since posting a stellar 2.15 GAA and 0.924 save percentage in 2015-16. He fell right off the boat, with a 2.82 GAA and 0.908 save percentage the next season.
Schneider would love to have a 2.82 GAA and 0.908 save percentage right about now. He heads into Friday night with a shaky 4.71 GAA and 0.847 save percentage in five appearances. Blackwood is an option for the Devils, but he hasn’t been good, either. The 22-year-old owns a 3.31 GAA and 0.871 save percentage in six games. The defence can certainly be better, including P.K. Subban who was a big signing for the Devils in the offseason. I can’t say he’s been earning his pay thus far.
The Devils are 30th in the NHL with 4.1 goals against per game. It’s been even worse for the Devils at home, where they’ve gotten smacked for 4.67 goals against per game. At least their fans are getting some entertaining hockey to watch. Their offence has been trying to keep pace, and they’ve been good, with 3.71 goals per game. Nonetheless, the Devils can’t expect to win games giving up this many goals. It starts with Schneider playing better between the pipes.
Philadelphia are incapable of saying much, because their issues have been similar. Carter Hart has been stuck in a sophomore slump of sorts to open the season. Hart holds a 3.32 GAA and 0.864 save percentage in seven games. Brian Elliott has been better, though inconsistent in the crease with a 3.10 GAA and 0.904 save percentage. This matchup has the makings of a 4-3 or 5-4 game, leaving us to lean towards the OVER in this spot.