It was not a productive night last night – again – with my single free NHL pick on the one-game NHL schedule.
I had the under 5.5 between the low-scoring Senators and the defensively-stout Blue Jackets from Columbus, but there was nothing doing here.
The score sat 2-2 heading to the third, and we approached the midway point of the period with that same score, so the pick certainly stood a chance.
That said, the two teams exchanged goals less than a minute apart, which sank the pick as the 3-3 score was over the total before the game went to overtime where the Jackets won it in the extra frame.
It was disappointing to see the Jackets allow three goals to a 30th-ranked Senators offense considering they entered the game allowing a hair over two per game on home ice.
Nonetheless, the numbers can lie sometimes when you are cold and I’ll simply look to turn my fortunes around on this big 13-game Tuesday night schedule!
Season Record: 101-88-1
Now let’s dive into this free NHL pick featuring the Sharks vs. Flyers from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia!
Sharks vs. Flyers Betting Odds
- Sharks (+195)
- Flyers (-235)
- Sharks +1.5 (-125)
- Flyers -1.5 (+105)
- Over 6 (-105)
Under 6 (-115)
Sharks vs. Flyers NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s check out each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The Sharks held tough through some big-time injury woes lately, even winning four games over a five-game stretch approaching the second half of the month, but have now dropped four in a row entering this one tonight.
The season has been a disaster in San Jose, and as a result the team became a trade-deadline seller and dealt away the likes of Brendan Dillon, Patrick Marleau and Barclay Goodrow over the last several says, further skimming a roster that was already decimated by injuries to significant players.
The team has been without their top two centers in Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl for the long-term and just traded Goodrow who was getting the first-line center minutes in their absence.
As well as trading a reliable defender in Dillon, the Sharks have also lost defenseman Erik Karlsson for the season due to a thumb injury.
Add it up and the Sharks’ current NHL depth chart is nearly unrecognizable from just a couple months back and it’s not a surprise to see them limping into this tough matchup tonight.
The Sharks have struggled defensively this season as they sit 22nd with 3.28 goals against per game on the road despite owning a road penalty kill that sits second with an 85.6% mark on the season.
Their 2.91 goals against/60 at 5v5 on the road ranks them 24th which has been the biggest issue defensively this season.
That said, their offense has been the biggest surprise, or the lack of it.
After tying for second in team offense last year, the Sharks enter this one ranked 27th with 2.31 goals per game on the road this season despite a decent 17th-ranked road power play with an 18.6% clip.
Again, 5v5 production has been the issue here as well as their 1.97 goals/60 at 5v5 on the road ranks 27th as well.
Possession wise, they’ve struggled as well.
At 5v5 on the road, the Sharks rank ninth with a 50.25% Corsi For%, but fall to 17th with a 47.91% Scoring Chances For% and 17th with a 48.24% High-Danger Chances For%.
Perhaps not as bad as you’d expect, but not great numbers nonetheless.
A lack of goaltending has been an issue again this time around as the Sharks rank 27th with a .913 Sv% at 5v5 away from home this season, and it will be Aaron Dell looking to keep the Flyers at bay tonight as he’s taken over the No.1 role from the struggling Martin Jones.
Dell enter this one tonight sporting a 2.90 GAA and .909 Sv% on the season in 27 starts and 30 appearances, and he’s been solid in posting a 2.86 GAA and .914 Sv% across 15 starts and 16 appearances on the road, even going 8-6-1 in the process.
He’s been up-and-down of late, jockeying between solid and not-so-solid outings over his last five appearances.
In that time he’s posted an .888 Sv% and allowed at least three goals in four of the five starts and at least four goals in two of his last four starts.
The Flyers have been playing some quality hockey of late that’s seen them go from batting for Wild Card positioning to looking for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Indeed, the Flyers are just three points back of the Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division thanks to a run that’s seen them win three in a row and seven of their last 10.
In that time, their home dominance has continued as they sit with a 21-5-4 record at Wells Fargo this season thanks to their excellent work at both ends of the ice.
On offense, the Flyers rank fifth with 3.57 goals per game and while their power play has slipped to 15th they still own a solid 21% mark at home this season.
Defensively, they’ve been even more impressive and the year-to-year improvement has been significant.
In fact, they’ll enter this matchup as the NHL’s best home defense where they’ve allowed just 2.08 goals per game on the season while they sit seventh with an 84.8% mark on the penalty kill at home as well.
Both ends of their special teams are hot at the moment. Their power play has gone 5 for 13 (38.5%) over their last five games while their penalty kill has gone 18 for 20 (90%) over their last seven.
The Flyers are also sporting a notable advantage in the possession game entering this one.
At 5v5 at home, the Flyers rank 11th with a 52.19% Corsi For%, 15th with a 52.47% Scoring Chances For% and ninth with a 54.05% High-Danger Chances For%.
Those numbers have regressed some since earlier in the year but are quality figures nonetheless.
The Flyers will also hold the goaltending advantage tonight thanks to the work of the youthful Carter Hart at home this season.
Hart enters this one sporting a 2.52 GAA and .909 Sv% on the season, but his home splits are far better than his work on the road as he owns an eye-popping 1.62 GAA and .947 Sv% with a 16-2-2 mark in 20 home starts on the campaign.
After a tough January, Hart has turned in a 2.02 GAA and .929 Sv% in five February starts and owns a .948 Sv% over his last two starts – both at home – winning each of them by combined 9-3 score.
You hate to count out teams due to injuries and a thinned-out lineup as the players that get an opportunity as a result are working hard to stay in the lineup.
Nonetheless, I can’t help but notice the titanic mismatch here in both the on-paper personnel for each club and the numbers laid out throughout this article.
The Sharks have been unable to generate offense on the road for much of the season, and that’s gotten even worse of late given the injuries as they’ve scored two goals or fewer in four straight road games with 1.50 goals per game during that time.
That’s not an encouraging figure against the league-best Flyers home defense and the red-hot Carter Hart.
On the flip side, while the Sharks haven’t been getting decimated on the back end with some solid goaltending from Dell, the Flyers’ offense is hot right now with 4.50 goals per game over their last eight and at least four goals scored in six of those eight.
Add in the roll they are on at the moment and I see a potential blowout of the Sharks in this one tonight.
To me, a puckline pick on the home team here is an easy decision at what I believe are still attractive odds.