I saw my five-pick win streak snapped with a loss in last night’s game featuring the Penguins vs. Bruins from Boston, and it came in rather frustrating fashion as we were right there with the Penguins as +143 road underdogs as per BetOnline.
The start wasn’t advantageous in the last as the Bruins built a 3-0 lead, something that’s actually rather disastrous considering how well they’ve played defensively this season. However, the Penguins would score the next four goals and actually held a 4-3 lead approaching the midway point of the third period. However, a Torey Krug equalizer tied the game, but I still felt good about the pick in a tie game heading into the final minutes of the third. That’s about the time when Brad Marchand connected for his second of the night with less than two minutes to go, scoring the eventual game-winner while the Bruins tacked on an empty-netter in a 6-4 win.
I mentioned Matt Murray needed to be good and the Penguins needed to at least keep the Bruins’ deadly top line in check, neither of which happened. Murray was pulled in favor of Tristan Jarry after allowing three goals on just 11 shots while the Bruins’ top line scored five goals and Marchand notched five points on the night.
It was worth the shot as big underdogs, but a loss is a loss and I will move onto tonight’s big 11-game NHL schedule.
Season Record: 11-8
I have two free NHL picks going tonight, the first featuring the Hurricanes vs. Flyers from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Hurricanes vs. Flyers NHL Betting Odds:
Over 6.5 (-105)
Under 6.5 (-105)
Hurricanes vs. Flyers NHL Pick
After another red-hot start to the season, the Carolina Hurricanes have largely been cooled off over their last nine games as they get set to take on the Flyers tonight from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Over their last nine games, the Hurricanes are just 4-4-1 and have endured both a three-game losing streak followed by a three-game winning streak. However, that three-game win streak was snapped at the hands of the visiting Devils as Carolina dropped a 5-3 decision as big -200 favorites at home on Saturday.
While the Hurricanes remain a stout 6-2-0 at home this season, the road has not been a friendly place of last as Carolina has dropped their last three road games and have been outscored 13-7 in the process. They managed just 24 shots on goal in two of those three games, although they did outshoot the opponent twice.
Carolina continues to boast strong possession numbers with their 53.1% Corsi For% ranking fourth in the NHL, however their road work hasn’t been as kind. Carolina averages both three goals for and against per game on the road, but they’re being outshot by an average of 2.7 shots per game on the road as well. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Canes’ 49.46% Corsi For% at 5v5 play on the road ranks 15th in the league compared to their 55.03% mark ranking fifth on home ice.
James Reimer got the nod in the 5-3 loss to the Devils on Saturday, and while there is no confirmed starter for the Hurricanes as of yet for tongiht, I would strongly suspect we see Petr Mrazek back in the crease tonight. Mrazek has been good in posting a 2.33 GAA and . 915 Sv% to go along with a sparkling 7-1-1 mark on the season across nine starts. However, he’s a less-inspiring 1-1-1 with a 3.21 GAA and .893 Sv% across three road starts. He actually shutout the Kings 2-0 in his first road start of the season, but was torched by the Ducks in his next road outing followed by a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets in he most recent road start. In other words, he’s posted an .818 Sv% over his last two road starts against the league’s 25th and 26th-ranked offenses in the Ducks and Blue Jackets, respectively.
The Flyers played two games in as many nights on the weekend and ended up with three of four points. They were on both ends of shootouts as they edged the Devils 4-3 in a shootout on the road on Friday before taking a 4-3 shootout loss – in 11 rounds no less – at home on Saturday against the Maple Leafs.
The Flyers probably deserved a better fate on Saturday as they out-shot the Maple Leafs 40-28 on the evening but Frederik Andersen caught fire late and held off a furious Flyers attack. That said, outshooting opponents at home this season is nothing new for Alain Vigneault’s club as they’ve made things rather difficult on opponents at Wells Fargo this season.
The Flyers rank first with a whopping 39 shots per game on home ice this season, however the more impressive stat could be their +12.5 average shot differential per game at home thanks to also ranking third in the NHL with just 26.5 shots against at home this season. Furthermore, the while the Hurricanes rank fourth in overall possession, the Flyers lead the NHL with a 54.3% Corsi For% at even strength this season, as per Hockey Reference. At home, however, that number increases to a whopping 58.15%, easily the best mark in the NHL. The Flyers are also getting a 61.04% share of the high-danger scoring chances at home as per Natural Stat Trick, fifth-best mark in the NHL.
While the peripherals look fantastic, the results have been there as well. The Flyers rank second with 4.17 goals per game at home this season and tied for 12th with 2.67 goals against per game at home.
The biggest problem, especially of late, has been goaltending. The Flyers have allowed at least three regulation goals against over their last five games and both Carter Hart and Brian Elliott have been at fault. Tonight’s start is confirmed to be going to Hart who has been torched for a terrible .795 Sv% over his last fiver outings. However, after being pulled three times in a four-start stretch, Hart was responsible for the 4-3 shootout win in New Jersey on Friday. He allowed three goals on just 26 shots (.885 Sv%), but also shut the door on all three Devils shootout attempts to earn the win. That certainly has to be a confidence booster for the 21-year-old.
Also worth noting is that Hart is 2-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .915 Sv% in three home starts with the overwhelming majority of his damage against come on the the road in the form of a 1-2-1 record, 4.25 GAA and .828 Sv%.
While the Hurricanes are never an easy out, there’s plenty of evidence here to suggest the Flyers are in good shape here as home underdogs. The Hurricanes are certainly a superior team at home while the Flyers are simply one of the best teams in the NHL at home, period.
Their goaltender should have renewed confidence, especially in his home confines tonight. Their home offense has been dynamite and they have owned some teams at home this season in the possession game. To me, there’s more than enough evidence here to give the Flyers a go as slight home dogs tonight.