The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to meet at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday night. Pittsburgh is feeling confident going into this one off three straight wins. In their most recent win, the Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils for the second consecutive game, 5-2. Prior to that win, the Penguins were 6-4 winners against the Devils on Friday before beating them again two days later.
They have to be feeling fresh after getting the last three nights off. Including the sweep against the Devils, the Pens have won eight of their last ten games. This team is far from washed up, and remain contenders in the latter stages of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin’s careers. No, it’s not like either are retiring tomorrow or anything, but at 33 and 34, they don’t have all the time left in the world to be elite players. Malkin is working himself back from a lower-body injury, but only started skating last week.
The Penguins enter Thursday night with a record of 27-13-2 and 56 points. They trail the Washington Capitals by 4 points in the East Division for the lead. There’s another case of a team with veteran players that don’t show any signs of being washed up. The Penguins and Caps might find it tough to win the Stanley Cup, though. If we’re going by the odds, the Penguins are longshots at +2200, while the Capitals have the seventh best odds at +1600.
There might be some value to take a flier on the Penguins, but a lot is going to have to go right for them for that to happen. Somebody is going to need to get hot in the crease for the Penguins to go far. Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith are responsible for the goaltending duties in Pittsburgh. DeSmith and Jarry share the net, with DeSmith owning the better numbers. However, Jarry is listed as probable after a solid showing against the Devils.
The Flyers enter Pittsburgh off a 6-1 loss against the Caps. That was an ugly loss, but even uglier was a 5-3 loss against the Buffalo Sabres a game before on Sunday. Just when you think it’s going bad for Carter Hart, he struggled badly against the Sabres with 4 goals against on 30 shots. Hart is probable to start tonight, with Brian Elliott struggling as well. Head below for our free Flyers vs. Penguins pick on April 15, 2021.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Betting Odds:
Flyers vs. Penguins Prediction:
It has been awfully frustrating this season for Carter Hart and Flyers’ fans. For a goaltender that showed so much promise, Hart has been crumbling and playing with zero confidence. If his confidence continues to sink, it’d probably be in his best interest to attend sessions with a sports psychologist to get his head back on straight. From what I’ve watched with Hart, his confidence appears to be at an all-time low.
Hart has posted a GAA of 3.80 and 0.872 save percentage. This is a year after Hart was strong with a 2.42 and GAA and 0.914 save percentage as a sophomore in the NHL. Hart has allowed at least 3 goals in eight of his previous ten outings. And the solution of just going with Brian Elliott isn’t much of an option because he hasn’t been too hot either.
The Flyers are 30th in the NHL with a whopping 3.6 goals against per game. They have been horrendous on the penalty kill at 73.2% for 30th in the league. You can blame it on the defence, and far too often goaltenders are unfairly blamed, but in this case, you have to look at Hart. The Flyers are 10th with 28.9 shots against per game which is respectable.
In Hart’s last appearance against the Penguins, he gave up 5 goals on 27 shots for a 0.815 save percentage. For the Hart to get the win, some help from the offense is likely going to be needed. Fortunately, the offence has shown up for the Flyers against the Pens in the past. They’ve scored at least 3 goals in six of their previous seven meetings. The Flyers have netted 2.9 goals per game this season.
Pittsburgh has been a mid-tier defence with 2.8 goals against per contest. Tristan Jarry, who is listed as probable to start, has been mediocre for the Pens with a 2.84 GAA and 0.907 save percentage. Jarry has struggled against the Flyers in his career with a 3.42 GAA and 0.886 save percentage. The OVER has gone 6-0 in their last six meetings, and 7-1 in the last eight. A final score of 4-3 or 5-3 looks accurate.