We stay red-hot with an 8-1 record over our last nine picks as the Bruins edged the Penguins last night as slight moneyline underdogs.
As expected, it was a tight one. The Bruins opened the scoring, but the Penguins tied it up at 1-1 after 20 minutes. Following a scoreless second, Travis Frederic broke the tie with a little more than 11 minutes to go in the third and it would stand as the winner.
Chalk up the player of the game to Bruins rookie netminder Dan Vladar who made 34 saves in his NHL debut and rightfully earned his first career NHL victory in the process.
We’re certainly on a heater at the moment, and we’ll look to extend that with this Flyers vs. Rangers NHL Pick from the Big Apple!
- Season Record: 26-24
- Units: +1.37
Flyers vs. Rangers Betting Odds
- Flyers (-125)
- Rangers (+113)
- Flyers -1.5 (+180)
- Rangers +1.5 (-210)
- Over 6 (-109)
- Under 6 (-101)
Flyers vs. Rangers NHL Pick Breakdown
Looking at the personnel up front for the Flyers entering this season, we knew this was going to be a deep offensive group. Even today, we see Claude Giroux set to center Jakub Voracek on what is being labelled the club’s third line, and with Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes also down the middle, this offense is built to perform, and perform they have.
After hanging five on the Rangers in their OT win on Monday, the Flyers have moved up to fifth while averaging 3.35 goals per game on the season with a power play that sits directly in the middle of the circuit with a 20.7% clip, good for 15th league wide.
Now, that’s the positive side. The end results need to be there and they are. However, there are some concerns when it comes to this offense.
For instance, they rank 26th in scoring chances for/60 and 23rd in both high-danger chances for/60 and expected goals for/60, as per Natural Stat Trick. Additionally, their 2.80 actual goals/60 at 5v5 this season is quite a ways above their 2.02 expected mark, so it certainly appears as if the Flyers are scoring more at even strength than they’ve deserved to this point.
If that weren’t enough, the shooting rate numbers also spell regression. At 5v5, the Flyers’ 24.84% on high-danger chances is not only the highest in the league at the moment but would also go down as the best mark in the NHL over the last several seasons. Their second-ranked 10.90% overall 5v5 shooting rate is also above the leaders over the last few seasons.
End results mean more than underlying metrics to be sure, but most all signs point to some offensive regression in the City of Brotherly Love.
While the offense has been a strong point on the surface this season, the defense hasn’t been as good as perhaps expected this season.
Overall, the Flyers rank 25th with 3.27 goals against per game on the season and 26th with a 74.1% mark on the penalty kill. The advanced metrics aren’t quite as poor, so perhaps there’s some hope for some improved defensive fortunes moving forward for this back end.
At 5v5 this season, the Flyers rank 12th in scoring chances against/60, 17th in high-danger chances against/60 and 18th in expected goals against/60. That said, their 3.05 goals against/60 at 5v5 this season is nearly a full goal above their 2.17 expected mark, so while the penalty kill has struggled, it seems as if their 5v5 defense should be in for improved results moving forward.
There’s little doubt that this group misses the reliable, veteran presence of Matt Niskanen who surprisingly announced his retirement this past offseason, and while Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers are reasons to be hopeful for the future, this back end isn’t without its holes.
Over their last eight games, the Flyers have allowed 4.25 goals per game, so it makes sense as to why they’ve dropped three of those five games, but they’ve also needed five goals to win two of those three and four in the other.
Seemingly, this Flyers back end needs to shape up if they want to make some more noise in this tough East Division.
We don’t have a confirmed starter for the road side in this one, but the Flyers have been the recipients of some horrific goaltending of late.
Should Carter Hart get the nod, he will bring a disastrous 3.62 GAA and .884 Sv% into action across 17 appearances. Hart as been torched here in March as he sports a 4.39 GAA and .828 Sv% in five appearances, but it’s not as if he’s been a whole lot better otherwise with his best month of the season turning in a 3.34 GAA and .900 Sv% stemming from seven January outings.
Veteran backup Brian Elliott was able to stabilize the position across the first six weeks of the season, but his unsustainable work has taken a turn for the worse here in March.
If he were to start, Elliott would carry in a 3.67 GAA and .848 Sv% across four March appearances into this one, and his season-long numbers have dipped to a 2.64 GAA and .904 Sv% across 13 appearances on the campaign, work that is far more in line with his results over the last few seasons.
After a fifth-place finish last season, the Rangers’ 2021 offense hasn’t been nearly as potent, especially when up a man.
For the campaign, the Rangers rank 19th with 2.78 goals per game on the season while their brutal 14.1% clip on the power play checks in at 27th. It’s amazing to see a group that largely resembles last year’s squad struggle so much on the man advantage, but New York hasn’t had many answers to their season-long struggles to this point.
The advanced data doesn’t exactly point towards positive regression, either. At 5v5, the Rangers rank 23rd in scoring chances for/60, 16th in high-danger chances for/60 and 18th in expected goals for/60. Add in the scuffling power play and it’s not a major surprise to see this group sitting in the bottom-half of the league in overall offense.
A perfect example of the year-over-year issues is No. 1 center Mika Zibanejad. After a monster season that saw him post 41 goals and 75 points in just 57 games — to go along with a sky-high 19.7% shooting rate — Zibanejad has tallied three goals and 11 points in 27 games to go along with a 3.9% shooting rate. Your offense isn’t going to deliver much in terms of end results without production at the top, and Zibanejad’s results have been a microcosm of the Rangers’ offensive issues as a team this season.
In the 2019-20 season, the Rangers’ back end was their single-biggest issue as they allowed a ton of shots and a ton of goals, at least until rookie netminder Igor Shesterkin showed up on the scene. This season, it’s been a different story as this back end has been rather stable.
Overall, the Rangers rank 11th with 2.78 goals against per game on the season, and while the Flyers’ power play hit them up for two goals on Monday, the blueshirts still sit fourth with an 85.6% penalty kill rate on the season.
Additionally, their underlying metrics support such work.
At 5v5, the Rangers rank 13th in scoring chances against/60, 15th in high-danger chances against/60 and 11th in expected goals against/60. With their 2.42 goals against/60 actually sitting well above their 2.06 expected mark, perhaps we can expect this defense to improve even more considering the stout penalty kill.
It could be an undermanned group tonight, however, with Adam Fox missing Monday’s game due to NHL protocol, however rookie K’Andre Miller has been excellent in a big role this season while Jacob Trouba has returned form his long-term injury to skate alongside Miller on what is not the teams’ top defensive pairing.
Unlike the Flyers, we know who will be between the pipes tonight for the Rangers as Alexandar Georgiev will get the nod with Shesterkin on the sidelines with a groin issue.
Certainly, Georgiev will be looking for a major turnaround after some cringe-worthy results here in the month of March.
Across four March outings, the 24-year-old has turned in a 5.56 GAA and .800 Sv%, numbers that have seen his overall work this season plummet to a 3.33 GAA and .887 Sv% across 12 appearances (11 starts).
That said, you wonder how long he can scuffle for. Of course, that’s an unsustainably-poor result for any NHL goaltender in a month, but Georgiev has posted a career .910 Sv% despite being under heavy fire in his 89 career NHL games so far. Keep in mind he posted that same .910 mark last season as a 23-year-old while the Rangers ranked 30th with 34 shots against per game a season ago.
Regardless of who starts for Philly, it will be a battle of a pair of struggling netminders on Broadway tonight.
Flyers vs. Rangers NHL Pick
The Flyers snuck by the Rangers as road favorites two nights back, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see another close matchup tonight.
That said, when I look at this Flyers team as a whole, I’m actually not seeing a ton to like. If I like at the personnel up and down the roster, it looks like a quality hockey team and one that nearly surged all the way to the top of the Metropolitan Division last season.
While their goaltending hasn’t done them many favors, the offense is scoring well above their heads, the power play is average, the penalty killing is well below average and the even-strength defense has yielded far more opportunities than their surface numbers would suggest.
The Rangers haven’t been able to consistently cash in up front, but they’re the superior defensive club — which I didn’t see coming — and at this price, that’s just about good enough for me with a pair of struggling netminders set to clash.
Give me the home underdog to exact some revenge tonight at a quality price.