Flyers vs. Rangers NHL Odds & Pick: Back New York To Down Philly on Home Ice (Wednesday, March 17)
Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers.
- The New York Rangers welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to Madison Square Garden for Wednesday's game.
- Both teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.
- Michael Leboff explains why he's backing the Blueshirts as live underdogs in this spot below.
Flyers vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings|
Neither the Philadelphia Flyers or the New York Rangers are where they want to be at the halfway point of the NHL season.
Both Eastern Conference teams are sitting outside of the playoff picture, but close enough to still have springtime ambitions, so the points at stake in Wednesday’s game are of the utmost importance.
The Flyers closed as -136 favorites in their 5-4 overtime win over the Rangers on Monday, but for most of the day they were hanging around -118 odds. The late move toward Philadelphia was due to New York’s Adam Fox and Pavel Buchnevich landing on the COVID-19 protocol list.
Fox and Buchnevich are still on the aforementioned list as of Tuesday, so it’s worth monitoring their status before making a bet on this latest meeting.
How They Match Up
Coming into the season, I thought the Flyers were closer to middle-of-the-pack than they were to contenders. However, the betting market disagreed, as Philadelphia checked into the season at +1600 to win the Stanley Cup and was basically a co-favorite with Boston to win the East Division.
I understood why the Flyers were priced like that — they got hot right before the hiatus, then made a lucky run to get within one game of the Eastern Conference Finals in The Bubble — but I thought those results fogged up Philadelphia’s true identity.
The Flyers came out of the gate hot in 2021, but those results also seemed like smoke and mirrors, as a sky-high shooting percentage masked some bigger issues. One 6-6-1 stretch later and Philadelphia is about where I expected it to be, fighting an uphill battle for a playoff spot.
Interestingly, Philadelphia’s 5-on-5 play has actually improved during its recent dip. In the first month of the season, the Flyers posted a 46.6% expected-goals rate, but a 54.3% goal share at 5-on-5 play. Since then, the Flyers have improved their xG rate to 51.1%, but their goal share has dropped to 41.9%. Go figure.
The Flyers are the better, deeper team compared to the Rangers, but it’s actually New York that boasts stronger 5-on-5 numbers.
|5-on-5 Stat||New York Rangers||Philadelphia Flyers|
|Goals for per 60||2.48||2.81|
|Goals against per 60||2.42||3.04|
|Goal Differential per 60||+0.06||-0.23|
|xG for per 60||2.29||2.23|
|xG against per 60||2.16||2.26|
|xG Diffierential per 60||+0.13||-0.03|
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
New York’s problems seem to be more personnel-related than process-related this season. Part of that is down to injury issues, but a lot of it’s just how this roster is constructed. The Rangers have plenty of high-end talent, but there are several players who have underwhelmed this season. Mika Zibanejad has three goals and 11 points on the season, while Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere have combined for a total of 11 points.
Fox, Buchnevich, Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider are doing their part, but since the bottom of this roster is not built to chip in regularly, the stars need to produce every night if the Rangers want to make noise.
Flyers vs. Rangers Best Bet
The Rangers have already confirmed Alexandar Georgiev will get the start in goal. After a promising 2019/20 performance, Georgiev has stumbled to a -6.55 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) in 12 games this season.
That’s not good for any team, but it’s especially worrisome since New York was keen on getting solid goaltending to make up for a patchwork defense. That said, the Flyers don’t really have an edge here.
Carter Hart has the third-worst GSAx in the NHL this season at -14.82, and while Brian Elliott has been better, he’s still in the red and has not been a reliable goalie for a few seasons.
With the goaltending looking like a wash, I’m happy to target the Rangers here, as I think there really isn’t that much between these two teams.
However, I would wait until we get lineup clarity with Buchnevich and Fox before making a play. If they’re out, I’d hope to get +120 on New York. If both players are in, I like the Blueshirts at +100 or better.
Pick: Rangers +100 or better