It was a small two-game NHL schedule yesterday, and while I had just one pick going, it was quite wonderful to get our week started on the right note with a WINNER!
The Red Wings paid the Avalanche a visit to the Pepsi Center, and while I expected an Avalanche blowout, I also expected a high-scoring affair, and not just one the one side.
I liked the Avalanche to score at least four goals in that one as the NHL’s third-ranked home offense (at the time), but I also thought Detroit could get some offense going against a weak Avalanche home defense.
It didn’t look good after one with a 1-0 Detroit lead, and it was only 2-1 Avalanche after two. However, the teams went off in the third and the Avalanche ended up winning this one by a 6-3 count.
In fact, in my final sentence of yesterday’s piece, I mentioned a “5-2 or 6-3 Avalanche win.” Not to pump my own tires, but I kind nailed that one.
Instead of laying big juice on the Avs on the puckline at roughly -165 odds, I pivoted to the OVER 6.5 and nailed that one at much better +105 odds.
Let’s move onto tonight’s five-game NHL schedule and see if we can keep rolling!
Season Record: 82-68-1
Now let’s take a look at this Penguins vs. Flyers free NHL pick in a rivalry matchup from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia!
Penguins vs. Flyers Betting Odds
- Penguins (-130)
- Flyers (+110)
- Penguins -1.5 (+190)
- Flyers +1.5 (-230)
- Over 6 (-115)
- Under 6 (-105)
Penguins vs. Flyers NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these teams before I get into my final pick!
The Penguins just keep on winning hockey games before Sidney Crosby even returned to the lineup.
On the night Crosby returned on week ago on January 14th, the Penguins were riding a three-game win streak.
In the four games since he returned, the Pens are 3-1-0 and are coming off a rematch win over the Boston Bruins by a 4-3 count on Sunday after falling behind 3-0 in the first 15 minutes of that one.
The offense just keeps scoring. After disappointing with just two goals in a 2-1 OT win in Detroit on Friday, the Penguins’ offense found its game once again with four goals against a tough Bruins defense and have still averaged 3.50 goals per game since Crosby’s return.
Pittsburgh will enter this one tonight tied for seventh with 3.30 goals per game on the road this season, but it’s their power play that’s been most encouraging.
On the road, their power play sits ninth with a 21.1% clip, but it’s also 4 for 13 (30.8%) since Crosby got back. On the whole, the Pens’ power play was scuffling – mostly at home – but his return has given some much-needed life back to that dangerous man advantage.
The Pens aren’t too far out of the top 10 in terms of road defense as their 3.00 goals against per game on the road ranks 12th, and their road penalty kill sits smack-dab in the middle of the pack at 15th with a 79.2% mark.
Where this team has truly dominated on the road is in the possession game.
At 5v5 on the road this season, the Penguins rank fourth with a 52.52% Corsi For%, first with a 53.42% Scoring Chances For% and also first with a 53.72% High-Danger Chances For%. This despite a litany of injuries up and down their lineup.
They’ve also received good goaltending this season.
Tristan Jarry has come back down to earth a little bit in allowing three goals in each of this last three starts, and Matt Murray has started each of the last two and posted a real strong .940 Sv% in wins over the Red Wings and Bruins.
The Penguins haven’t confirmed a starter as of yet, but neither goaltender has been great on the road, however.
If they ride the hot hand with Murray, he’ll bring a 2.95 GAA and .883 Sv% and a 7-4-2 record in 14 road starts into action.
If it’s Jarry, he will carry a 2.61 GAA and .918 Sv% in nine road starts and 10 road appearances into action. Those are good numbers, but much worse than his home numbers and he’s posted an .893 Sv% over his last two road starts and his numbers continue to normalize.
The Flyers will enter this one having won three of their last four and are playing on home ice where they’ve been at their very best this season.
Philly will carry a 16-4-4 home record into action where they are tied for fifth with 3.54 goals per game on the season and tied for first with 2.08 goals against per game at home on the campaign.
While the offense isn’t much of a concern with 3.75 goals per game over their last four, the Flyers defense has allowed 3.33 goals per game over their last three at home, in part because of missing a key piece to their back end.
While the Flyers’ defensive structure has been better at home, their top-ranked home defense sits in that spot thanks in large part to Carter Hutton who is currently out with an injury at the moment.
Hart owns a 1.69 GAA and .940 Sv% at home this season, so it’s clear that he’s been an integral piece to their puzzle at home.
Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon have done fine work in his absence, but neither has come close to the numbers Hart has posted on home ice.
The Flyers have yet to name a starter as well, so I won’t base my pick a ton on goaltending tonight.
Elliott has been good at home as well, turning in a 2.45 GAA and .914 Sv% to go along with a 3-1-2 record.
Lyon has appeared in just one NHL game this season, but allowed four goals on 40 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday. He owns a 3.14 GAA and .894 Sv% for his NHL career in 14 appearances, but has also turned in a nice 2.56 GAA and .916 Sv% in 23 AHL games this season.
Like the Penguins, the Flyers have controlled possession in this scenario tonight.
At 5v5 at home, the Flyers rank 11th with a 52.01% Corsi For%, 14th with a 52.64% Scoring Chances For% and 16th with a 53.33% High-Danger Chances For%. These numbers have regressed since earlier in the year, however.
There are few rivalries in this league I enjoy more than this one, and when I think of this rivalry I remember the enormously high-scoring affairs from several years ago in the postseason.
While I’m certainly not basing my pick on those games, I do feel a high-scoring game in this one tonight.
Sure, the Flyers are a very good home defense and penalty kill, but they’ve weakened in that area of late and their most important piece of that puzzle won’t be suiting up in this one.
They’ll also need to fend off a very potent Pittsburgh offense that has found its mojo on the power play.
For the Penguins, they too should have their hands full against a very good home offense and home power play. I’m not entirely trusting of either Murray or Jarry on the road in this one, either, as I think the Penguins are a little vulnerable between the pipes at the moment as well.
I like that we’re getting a six-goal total here with a push possibility built in as some safety, but I do think these teams combine to go over the total in something that could be a 5-3 or 5-4 game from the Wells Fargo Center in the City of Brotherly Love.