NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Devils vs. Flyers (Dec. 14)
Christopher Pasatieri/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Claude Giroux
Devils vs. Flyers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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After struggling through November and the first week of December, the Philadelphia Flyers decided to fire head coach Alain Vigneault and replace him with Mike Yeo on an interim basis. So far, the move has paid some immediate dividends with the team taking two wins from three games in front of Yeo.
The New Jersey Devils, meanwhile, are in the middle of their own two-game skid and will be missing some key players.
The Devils shutout the Flyers, 3-0, back on Dec. 8.
The Devils Are Unsurprisingly Inconsistent
The Devils are a young team with plenty of talent, but as an up-and-coming team they’ve been plagued by inconsistent play. The good news is that Jack Hughes, the team’s No. 1 center and best playmaker, is back in the fold and on a three-game point streak after missing several weeks with an injury.
The Devils rank 20th overall with 2.81 goals scored per game, but their underlying metrics are pretty strong, suggesting they either lack finishing talent or are getting pretty unlucky. New Jersey ranks sixth in high-danger chances created at 5-on-5 and fifth in expected goals, so the opportunities are there for the taking.
Blackwood will likely get the start in goal for this one after getting the night off on Saturday on Long Island. The 25-year-old has skated to a 5-4-3 record while posting a +1.9 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) and a .911 save percentage (SV%).
As a team, the Devils have been subpar defensively, ranking 22nd in goals against per game, allowing 3.15 goals per 60 minutes and 10.41 high-danger chances against.
Can the Flyers Turn This Thing Around?
It can be argued that the Flyers have a playoff team, on paper. Philadelphia has plenty of effective forwards and a blueline that should be playing better than it did through the first quarter.
No team in the NHL allowed more high-danger chances or expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 than the Flyers have this season, which has put a ton of pressure on the goaltending and offense.
While Claude Giroux has been terrific offensively with 10 goals and 13 assists, the rest of the Flyers offense has completely underwhelmed. Philadelphia ranks 27th in goals per game, 21st in expected goals per 5-on-5 and 27th in high-danger chances.
It is unconfirmed who will get the start in net for Philadelphia, but Carter Hart seems like the logical choice. Hart has a .913 SV% and a +5.1 GSAx in 17 games this season. Philadelphia would be in a much worse position without him.
Flyers vs. Devils Pick
The Devils have been up and down all season, but one thing that’s remained consistent is that New Jersey has struggled to score on a consistent basis. New Jersey will also likely be without No. 2 center Nico Hischier and top-four defenseman Ryan Graves and the team seemed to struggle a bit without them against the Islanders.
And while Philadelphia has certainly struggled through the first part of the schedule, the team has started to find some new life under Yeo. Throw in home-ice advantage and I think the price on Philadelphia is pretty cheap on Tuesday night.
Pick: Philadelphia Flyers -125