NHL Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction: Florida Panthers vs Philadelphia Flyers (October 27)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Carter Hart #79 and Rasmus Ristolainen #70 of the Philadelphia Flyers.
- The Flyers host the Panthers on Thursday night.
- Florida won the first matchup between these two teams this season, but will this game be any different?
- Carol Schram breaks it down and shares her best bet below.
Panthers vs. Flyers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers will both be looking to get back on the winning track when the two clubs meet for the second time this season.
With a 4-2-1 record, the Panthers sit second in the Atlantic Division, but opened their two-game road trip with a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. John Tortorella’s surprising Flyers are 4-2-0, good for third place in the Metropolitan heading into Wednesday night’s games. They’re coming off a 3-0 loss on home ice against the San Jose Sharks last Sunday.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for the game.
Despite bringing home the franchise’s first-ever Presidents’ Trophy last season, the Panthers went through a major overhaul last summer. Paul Maurice replaced Andrew Brunette as head coach and Matthew Tkachuk joined the forward corps. Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar departed for Calgary.
Tkachuk has adjusted well to his new surroundings. He leads the team with nine points in his first six games and was just named the NHL’s second star of the week. But while the Panthers have been outshooting their opponents by an average of nearly five shots a game, they haven’t been able to match their high-flying offensive production from last year. The Panthers are averaging a middling 3.00 goals per game — exactly the same amount they’re giving up. Meanwhile, their power play is just 2-for-33 and has come up empty in the past five games.
At 5-on-5, though, Florida’s puck-possession numbers are solid. The Panthers sit eighth in the NHL with an expected goals share of 55.46%. And while Sergei Bobrovsky has seen more game action than Spencer Knight thus far, both goalies have posted similar numbers, with save percentages just under .910 and exactly 0.8 goals saved above expected.
Tortorella’s magic is at work again, as he transforms a Flyers’ roster that is riddled with injuries and has underperformed for the past two seasons into a group that is winning games through hard work and outstanding goaltending.
Carter Hart is sitting third in the league at 6.2 goals saved above expected to go along with his .949 save percentage and 1.75 goals-against average. In four games, Hart has given up just seven goals. He was given the day off on Sunday, when the Flyers were lost to the Sharks, so he should be good to go Thursday night.
In other lineup notes, hard-hitting defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is expected to draw into the lineup for the first time this season and forward Owen Tippett is returning for the first time since Game 1. They’ll provide some much needed reinforcement for a squad that is still without Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson and Ryan Ellis, and recently added James van Riemsdyk to the injured list after he suffered a broken finger against San Jose. He’ll be missed on the power play, especially, which is 4-for-20 for the year, but has not connected in the past two games.
Offensively, the Flyers have been led by Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny. Both were benched in the third period Sunday, so they could be motivated to make a statement Thursday.
Short on high-end talent, it’s not a surprise that Philadelphia’s puck-possession game is lacking. They’ve controlled just 40.6% of expected goals at 5-on-5 and have seen opponents outshoot them by about five shots a game. But high-end goaltending offers an effective band-aid for those issues, and Hart has been delivering.
Panthers vs. Flyers Pick
When these two teams met on Oct. 19, the Flyers were finishing a back-to-back set. With Felix Sandstrom in net for the first time this season, Philadelphia fell behind 4-2 before Konecny chipped in a late extra-man score to end the game 4-3.
Heading into Thursday’s contest, the Flyers will have home-ice advantage, be the better rested squad and have a couple of important players back in their lineup.
The Panthers traveled from Sunrise on Sunday to Chicago on Tuesday before circling back to the City of Brotherly Love. So, on top of having the slightly busier schedule this week, they could also be a little bit road-weary.
With that in mind, the oddsmakers may be overvaluing the Panthers, based on their success last season. They’re doing fine this year, but Philadelphia is in good position to keep this game close, at minimum.
If you’re feeling conservative, you could take the Flyers on the puck line at a decent -135. But there’s good reason to think that Philadelphia could improve its record to 3-1-0 on home ice with an outright win against the Panthers, especially if Hart has another strong outing.
A moneyline bet offers good value in a week where NHL underdogs have been cashing in with some regularity.
Pick: Flyers Moneyline (+180); play down to +150