I grabbed a W with my lone NHL pick of the night last night as the Golden Knights and Stars played to a rather low-scoring affair.
I noted in my conclusion that Dallas should get the win but there wasn’t enough value at -164 moneyline odds, and that would have been a devastating beat if we weren’t smart about the lack of value.
With the Stars leading 2-1 late in the third, Vegas’ Jonathan Marchessault tied the game with just 1:02 left in regulation before Evgenii Dadonov tallied the OT winner for the road upset.
The 3-2 final fell Under the 5.5-goal total, so we’ll take our winner at -119 and move onto a Flyers vs. Canucks NHL Pick from Vancouver!
Flyers vs. Canucks Betting Odds
*Odds courtesy of BetOnline
|Flyers||+120||+1.5 (-215)||Over 6 (-123)|
|Canucks||-133||-1.5 (+185)||Under 6 (+112)|
Offense and Defense
The Flyers’ offense is cooking early this season, bagging 4.60 goals per game through the first five games of their season and just put five on Edmonton in a 5-3 win over the Oilers last night.
I was bullish on this group as it appears to be a deep roster up front and we haven’t even seen second-line center Kevin Hayes yet. The offseason trade that brought Cam Atkinson to the City of Brotherly Love is paying early dividends as the former Blue Jacket has six goals on the young season, including two last night.
At the same time, there’s no doubt they’re scoring well over their heads at the moment. First, 4.60 goals per game is an unsustainable clip moving forward, but from a data standpoint, their 4.10 goals/60 at 5v5, as per Natural Stat Trick, is miles above their 2.43 expected mark. That being said, they still rank ninth in expected goals for/60 at 5v5, so this is going to be a tough offense to handle throughout the season.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) October 28, 2021
The back end was by far the club’s biggest concern a season ago when they finished the 30th-ranked overall defense despite some solid underlying metrics (their goaltending was the worst in the NHL), and the early-season results this time around are improved, but unspectacular.;
The Flyers have allowed an even 3.00 goals per game so far, good for a five-way share of 15th league wide. That said, the underlying data isn’t great as the team ranks 25th in terms of high-danger chances against/60 and 28th in expected goals against/60 as well. Their 2.30 goals against/60 at 5v5 is out-pacing their expected 2.70 mark at the moment, so more goals against will come if the defense doesn’t begin to limit the high-danger opportunities.
It was an outright disaster of a season for the Canucks last year overall, and both the offense and defense fell into bottom-five territory. With a normal schedule and Elias Pettersson back in the lineup, an offensive rebound was in the cards. After all, they posted a top-10 offense in the 2019-20 season and that wasn’t an unreasonable expectation this season.
The results have been a little disappointing through the team’s first seven games, however, as their 2.71 goals per game on the campaign ranks them 20th in the league. That said, the underlying data is far worse.
In fact, no one has generated fewer high-danger chances/60 at 5v5 so far this season than the Canucks, and they also sit dead last in terms of expected goals for/6o at 5v5. Their 2.02 goals/60 at 5v5 have outpaced their 1.67 expected mark, so we could see this offense regress if they don’t start generating more chances.
Clearly, head coach Travis Green is looking to change up the look of his group in hopes of finding their game as Elias Pettersson is lining up as the team’s third line center at the moment with the coach looking to spread out the offensive wealth.
The team’s defensive player simply did not give them a chance last season and the early-season results this time around haven’t been much better.
The Canucks are tied for 13th with a solid 2.86 goals against per game on the season, but the Canucks are once again one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL from an analytical standpoint as they sit 30th in high-danger chances against/60 and tied for 23rd in terms of expected goals against/60 at 5v5.
It’s going to be difficult for this team to compete with the defense about as porous as it was a season ago.
In the back end of a back-to-back it will be Martin Jones getting the nod tonight after Carter Hart earned the upset win over the Oilers last night in Edmonton.
This is just the second start of the season for Jones, and he was solid in a win over the Bruins on Oct. 20 when he turned aside 37 of 40 shots (.925 Sv%) and saved 0.6 goals above average (GSAA) in that one. However, tread carefully here.
While he played behind one of the worst team defenses in the NHL in San Jose over the last couple of seasons, Jones has been among the very worst goaltenders in the NHL of late. In fact, he’s posted an .896 Sv% in three straight seasons, tying him for 56th of the 59 goaltenders who appeared in at least 50 games in that time.
Jones also owns a -49.6 GSAA in that span, so his work has left plenty to be desired. Perhaps a fresh start with the Flyers will help and he did impress in his first outing for Philly.
Like the Flyers, the start in goal tonight for the Canucks goes to the backup as long-time NHLer Jaroslav Halak makes his second start of the season.
Unlike Jones, however, Halak’s first start wasn’t great. I mean, he wasn’t terrible, but allowed two goals on just 20 shots (.900 Sv%) in a losing effort back on Oct. 16 in Detroit. The Canucks dominated that game but came out on the losing end.
Unlike Jones once more, Halak has been quite good of late. He wasn’t spectacular with a .905 Sv% and -1.6 GSAA last season with the Bruins, but over the last three seasons he’s turned in a .918 Sv% that’s tied for ninth among goalies with at least 50 games played in that time. He’s also posted a +21.6 GSAA in that time.
He’s in for a tougher task this season behind an inferior Canucks blueline, so we’ll see how the 36-year-old veteran fares out west this season.
The Flyers have certainly scored plenty at 5v5 this season, but the power play has certainly done its part as well.
That man advantage has hummed along at a 30.8% clip in the early going, ranking fifth league wide so far this season. It’s a power play loaded with talent as the club also signed Keith Yandle this summer to bolster a group that fell to 18th overall last season at under 20% while Yandle’s 136 power-play points over the last five seasons tied him for third-most among defensemen.
As noted, the PK was a dumpster fire last season, but the Flyers are off to an improved start this season, producing an 80% success rate so far and managed to keep an elite Oilers power play to just one goal in four opportunities last night. They also killed off six of seven penalties against another dangerous power play against the Panthers two games back.
An improved penalty kill would go a long way towards a successful season in Philly.
The power play fell off last season, but this is largely the same group that ranked fourth on the power play in the 2019-20 season, so it’s reasonable to expect quality production out of this group.
The results have been encouraging early as the Canucks own a 23.1% clip so far, and while that is tied for 14th, they’ve scored a power-play goal in each of the last three games and if that rate stays similar moving forward, they’ll end up as a top-10 power play once again.
The same cannot be said for a penalty kill that is tied for 23rd with a 77.8% mark so far this season, although they’ve been better after a sluggish start in that department as they’ve gone 10 for their last 11 and 2 for 2 in each of their last two games.
Even-strength defense continues to be a problem, which means this penalty kill absolutely needs to be quite good for this club to prevent enough goals to win games.
- Flyers are 0-7 in their last seven games on zero days rest
- Flyers are 5-16 in their last 21 games following a win
- Over is 4-1-1 in the Flyers’ last six games overall
- Over is 9-1-1 in the Flyers’ last 11 games vs. the Western Conference
- Canucks are 5-0 in their last five games playing on one days rest
- Canucks are 0-4 in their last four games as a favorite
- Under is 3-1-1 in the Canucks’ last five games overall
- Under is 5-0 in the Canucks’ last five games vs. a team with a winning record
Head to Head
- Home team is 4-1 in the last five meetings
- Favorite is 4-1 in the last five meetings
- Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings
- Under is 3-0-3 in the last six meetings in Vancouver
Flyers vs. Canucks NHL Pick
I’m not sure I’d put too much stake into any head-to-head trends there as these two teams play twice a year and zero times last season given the league realignment.
The Flyers going 0-7 in the last seven games in the second half of a back-to-back is concerning, but keep in mind all seven of those came last season when their goaltending was the worst in the NHL. They’ve yet to play in a back-to-back this season.
To me, the Flyers are the better team here. Their defense has struggled in preventing chances, but so has that of the Canucks’. My concerns for Vancouver begin to mount when I also see they’ve generated high-danger opportunities at a league-worst rate this season and their expected goals is well below their actual output.
With two backups going here and two teams giving up plenty of chances does lend itself well to the Over. That said, I see more value in the Flyers rattling off back-to-back wins over western Canadian teams.