NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Flyers (Jan. 20)
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Blue Jackets vs. Flyers Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+105|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
What is it going to take for the Philadelphia Flyers to win a hockey game?
For the second time this season, the Flyers are on a nine-game losing streak. Their latest effort was pretty strong, however, and Philadelphia was unfortunate to come up short in a nine-round shootout loss to the Islanders.
That loss did a good of summing up how things have been going for the Flyers this season.
The Blue Jackets have been off since losing 9-2 to the Panthers on Saturday.
The Jackets Have the Rest Advantage
The Columbus Blue Jackets have only played two games in the last week and they were very different contests. A week ago, the Jackets pulled off one of the surprising results of the season with a 6-0 win over the Hurricanes.
Unfortunately, Columbus followed that up with a 9-2 loss to Florida.
The Jackets started the season hot, but some hot finishing and strong goaltending really masked over some significant flaws that this team has. Columbus ranks 10th in goals scored per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, but that number should trend down over the season as it is nearly a half-goal higher than their xGF/60.
The real issue for the Jackets is that they are among the worst defensive teams in the league right now. Columbus ranks 31st in goals allowed per game, 32nd in 5-on-5 goals allowed per 60 minutes, 30th in high-danger chances allowed and 31st in expected goals allowed at 5-on-5.
That kind of defense makes life tough on the goaltenders and neither Elvis Merzlikins nor Joonas Korpisalo have covered themselves in glory this season. Merzlikins has been the better of the two, but a .907 save percentage with a +0.1 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) suggests he’s been average.
It’s also worth noting that Columbus has struggled to a 6-12-0 record on the road this season.
Can Philadelphia Stop the Rot?
The Flyers have come so close to ending this long streak, but they just haven’t been able to get the job done.
The Flyers outshot and outplayed the New York Islanders at home on Tuesday night. The Flyers had 34 shots on net and allowed 31 shots on Carter Hart, but they won the expected goals battle 3.24 to 2.68. Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson and Joel Farabee all contributed a point in that game, which was a welcome sign for a team that has struggled offensively.
After a slight improvement in their first few games under new coach Mike Yeo, the Flyers have crumbled of late. Philadelphia sits dead-last in expected goals and high-danger scoring chances allowed, though some decent goaltending means the Flyers are “only” 24th in the NHL in goals allowed at 5-on-5.
Carter Hart is the expected starter for the Flyers and will give them the goaltending edge in this contest. Hart has a +3.9 GSAx in 24 games this season.
Blue Jackets vs. Flyers Pick
Given the two defenses facing off, both teams should have opportunities to get rubber on the net on Thursday night. And while the idea of backing a team on its second nine-game losing streak as a favorite is not anyone’s idea of fun, I think the edge in goal for the Flyers makes them bettable in this spot.
Pick: Philadelphia Flyers -135 or better