NHL Odds & Prediction: Flyers vs. Kraken (December 29)
Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Martin Jones
- The Kraken face off against the Flyers as they attempt to snap a four-game home losing streak.
- The Flyers won the last meeting between these two teams, 6-1 on Oct. 18.
- Jonny Lazarus breaks down the matchup and offers up a best bet.
Flyers vs. Kraken Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
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The Philadelphia Flyers looked like they had found some form before the NHL paused the season. Philadelphia went 4-0-1 in its last five games and has clawed its way back to the fringe of the playoff picture since firing Alain Vigneault.
The Seattle Kraken were trending in the complete opposite direction, posting a record of 1-4-0 in their previous five games.
Can the Flyers Keep Rolling?
The Flyers were a headline-grabber in December. Philadelphia went through an 10-game losing streak, fired its coach and then found some form right before the break.
Whether the Flyers can carry that form out of the break remains to be seen, and the job got tougher thanks to Covid-19. Philadelphia will be without No. 1 goaltender Carter Harter, first-line center Sean Couturier and depth forwards Derick Brassard and Scott Laughton due to positive tests.
With Hart in protocol, the Flyers will roll with Martin Jones in goal. After a couple of dismal seasons in San Jose, the Flyers took a flier on the veteran netminder and he’s shown signs of improvement. Jones is 5-4-1 on the year with a pedestrian .907 save percentage and a -0.3 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
Philadelphia has been one of the least impressive 5-on-5 teams over the course of the season and its 44% expected goals rate is the worst mark in the circuit. The Flyers have been a little bit better under Mike Yeo, skating to a 46.5% expected goals rate in seven games, but are still not sorted out on defense. The Flyers are allowing 2.6 xG per 60 minutes under Yeo.
Philadelphia has been able to score its way out of trouble in its last five games, however, as the Flyers have tallied 21 goals in that span.
The Kraken Have Found Rock Bottom
The Kraken came into their first season with mixed expectations. Some modelers thought Seattle could be a dark horse, while others were skeptical of the team’s overall talent. It seemed like the folks in the latter camp were right. The Kraken have skated to a 10-17-3 record and are in last place in the Pacific Division.
Seattle will now have to make do without Brandon Tanev, one of the team’s most consistent performers this season, for the rest of the season. Additionally, the Kraken have placed Adam Larsson, Vince Dunn, Jamie Oleksiak, Carson Soucy, Ryan Donato and Mason Appleton in Covid-19 protocol.
While Seattle’s defensive play has been solid — the Kraken are limiting teams to 9.48 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at even strength — the offense and goaltending have been a mess all season.
Most folks expected the Kraken would struggle to generate scoring chances, but few saw the goaltending being as big an issue as it has been. Phillipp Grubauer was a Vezina candidate last season, but the German has been abysmal in 2021/22. Grubauer has skated to an .882 SV% and a league-worst -15.2 GSAx in 16 games.
Flyers vs. Kraken Pick
Neither of these teams has impressed to start this season, but it’s hard to look away from the Kraken’s injury/Covid list right now. The Kraken’s defense has been its strength, but they’ll be without four members of the blueline against a Flyers team that had found some scoring touch before the break.
Despite traveling across the country to play on the road, I think Philadelphia has a good chance to win this against a depleted Kraken lineup.
Pick: Philadelphia Flyers +115