The Detroit Red Wings may not have the same kind of talent they’ve had on their roster over the last twenty or so years, they’re going to fight to keep the playoff streak alive. I mean you go back and look at their teams since around their Stanley Cup win in 1997 and you’ll find plenty of star-studded lineups. Steve Yzerman, Sergei Federov, Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and plenty more called Detroit home during their NHL careers in those twenty years. The Datsyuk era came to an end this past offseason, as he opted to continue his career back home in Russia in the KHL. It leaves a gaping hole in the Red Wings’ lineup, more than anything, on the defensive end. Datsyuk was a magician with a hockey stick, but his back checking abilities were something that you couldn’t find on a stat sheet.
With Datsyuk in Russia and Henrik Zetterberg nearing the end of his career as well, the next era in Red Wings’ history belongs to Dylan Larkin. The 20-year-old notched 23 goals and 22 assists in his rookie season. He has scored 3 times with 1 assist this season. Not the most electrifying start, but there is plenty of time for him to go on a nice little run. He was able to pot a goal in the Wings’ last outing, a 5-2 losing effort against the Florida Panthers. It’s been that kind of season for the Red Wings, a topsy-turvy kind of start to the season. I suspect that it’s going to be like that throughout the season. If you like roller coasters, the Red Wings are going to be your team in 2016-17.
The Wings are going to have their moments, but ultimately, too many dry spells are going to do them in. The Red Wings have made the playoffs every year since the 1990-91 season. It makes for 25 years of playoff hockey in Detroit, which could come to an end in 2017. They survived and kept the streak going last season, but I see them as four or five points worse than last year. Take away four points and they wouldn’t have made the playoffs, so it’s going to be interesting for the Red Wings who are in their last season at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings take on the same team they were contending with to make the playoffs with a year ago, with both ultimately making it, but unable to make it very far.
The Flyers looked like a team dead in the water until the second-half of the season. It was due in large part to a jolt of energy from defenceman Shane Gostisbehere. In 64 games, Gostisbehere scored 17 goals and 29 assists all from the blue line. There are plenty of forwards who would love to score 17 goals in a season. He has scored 2 goals with 5 assists thus far this season, but his +/- of -5 isn’t the most attractive. The Flyers as a team haven’t been performing well defensively. They are allowing 3.8 goals per game for 29th in the NHL, the only team they trail in that department is the Maple Leafs.
The defense has been anemic for the Flyers, but they have been scoring the puck with relative ease. The Flyers are second last in goals against, yet they are second in goals scored per game with 3.5 goals. The only team they are trailing is the New York Rangers in that regard. The OVER has gone 8-1 in Flyers games this season, including 6-3 to the OVER in their last nine meetings against the Red Wings. A play on the OVER 5.5 in Philadelphia looks like a solid pick tonight.
PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-110)