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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flyers vs. Canadiens (Dec. 16)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flyers vs. Canadiens (Dec. 16) article feature image
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Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Carter Hart #79 and Rasmus Ristolainen #70 of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Flyers vs. Canadiens Odds

Flyers Odds -140
Canadiens Odds +120
Over/Under 5.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

A suddenly hot Philadelphia group will head to the Bell Centre on Thursday looking to push its winning streak to four against a Montreal team skating through a nightmare season.

The Canadiens have currently lost seven consecutive contests, featuring a roster decimated by injuries.

Montreal is playing for nothing but pride at this point, but we can certainly expect a desperate home effort with a number of players fighting hard for roster spots going forward.

However, will that be enough against some more manageable competition or can Philadelphia keep up its improved play as the club continues to face more manageable competition?

Philadelphia Flyers

Mike Yeo was certainly set up well for some “placebo” improvements, as Philadelphia’s awful stretch of losses came against much of the league’s very best competition. The Flyers’s opponents were averaging 9.11 rank in points percentage, and even still their last four wins prior came against Washington, Carolina, Calgary and Vegas.

As well, he takes over the group now skating with a more intact roster.

Yet, with that said, Philadelphia has posted three consecutive victories after snapping that 10-game losing streak, and have done so in dominant fashion with +8 goal differential and 57.58 xGF percentage.

Similar to Bruce Boudreau’s Vancouver group out west right now, you can just feel the energy and confidence which has returned to this roster. They seem to now expect to win and are looking to take the game to the opposition, as opposed to playing simply not to lose.

Ivan Provorov has shown he’s considerably better under Yeo and is no doubt a piece who offers the upside of a legit No. 1 defenseman when in form. Provorov was notably strong in Tuesday’s win over New Jersey, posting an 80.5 xGF% throughout 23:50 minutes of time on ice.

Goaltender Carter Hart has been confirmed as the starter for the contest, and has posted a .915 save % with a +5.7 goals saved above expected (GSAx) rating through 18 games played.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal is skating with a complete skeleton crew of what it offered during last year’s surprising playoff run. And needless to say, the results have been possibly more dreadful than one might have even expected.

The energy around the group is horrible, and you can just sense it’s hard to break the negativity surrounding the team right now playing in such a hockey crazy market. And I felt you could sense that hampering the Canadiens’ play once Pittsburgh broke through with a lead in Tuesday’s contest.

Over their last 10 games, Montreal has put together a league-low xGF% of 38.22, and although you have to think a group of proud professionals will push forward with urgent efforts, the talent left in the group for the time being is very limited.

Highlighting the more recent absences have been Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli, whose presences have been a very notable miss for a group skating to a dreadful 2.13 goals per game this season.

Goaltender Jake Allen will likely be given the start here, and has posted a .903 save % with a -2.7 GSAx rating throughout 23 games.

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Canadiens vs. Flyers Pick

I speculated that Philadelphia could be due to post some better results last week following up their big win against Vegas, and that’s part of the reason why they had looked so horrible was a stretch of games against tough competition playing short too many big names.

Well, I’m not going to turn back on that opinion now, as Philadelphia did follow it up by beating Arizona, 5-3, and New Jersey, 6-1, and now face more considerably lesser competition yet again with a heavily depleted Montreal roster.

I’m happy to keep it square getting -135 on the Flyers moneyline here and would back them down to -150 odds.

As well, I’m going to be watching a number of props regarding Cole Caufield. His line with Artturi Lehkonen and Ryan Poehling was notably dominant against Pittsburgh, with an xGF% of 73.3.

Caufield has generated an average of 3.33 shots on goal over his last three contests, with an average of 5.66 attempts per game. As well, he has been upgraded to the top power play the last two games, but the Canadiens have only seen three opportunities over those contests.

Should we see a similar shots on goal prop as those games featured with the over 2.5 sitting around +135, I think there’s a lot of value there and will be playing that. And sprinkling a small amount on him to get a point which will be in the +125 area, plus to score a goal which should be in the +350 number as well.

Pick: Philadelphia (-135 | play to -150) | Cole Caufield (Montreal) Over 2.5 SOG

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