Thursday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers Betting Preview
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: The Penguins celebrate a goal against St. Louis.
- The Penguins have won nine consecutive games and are favored Thursday in the Battle of Pennsylvania.
- Pittsburgh seems unbeatable right now, while the Flyers have gone through another funk of late.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.
Penguins vs. Flyers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The battle of Pennsylvania is always a fun one for fans because the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins have never liked one another. Unfortunately for the viewers, Philly is coming in very shorthanded, so we won’t see the best against the best. It should, however, be heated because these matchups usually are.
Even though it’s January it might feel like summer in Pittsburgh because the Penguins are red-hot. They just won their ninth game in a row, coming back down 3-1 against the Blues. A win against the Flyers to make it 10 in a row would be icing on the cake for the Pens.
Since firing Alain Vigneault, it seemed like Flyers were on the road to righting the ship. Unfortunately for them the season paused and it stopped their momentum. Since returning, Philly has lost three in a row, and a win over the rival Penguins would be a great start to get back on track.
Penguins the Hottest Team in the League
Every year, it always seems like people count out the Penguins. After a disappointing playoffs, many thought they were deteriorating, but they had other ideas.
Aside from the obvious stars in Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang (maybe Evgeni Malkin who’s nearing a return from injury), Jake Guentzel is leading scoring and Evan Rodrigues is becoming a major threat. They’re easily the hottest team in the league, and will be even scarier when Malkin comes back.
As one can imagine, Pittsburgh dominates when it has the puck. The Penguins drive play with the best of them and are ranked seventh in expected goals per 60 minutes with a 2.76 xGF.
The Pens also place 11th in generating high danger chances. Their power play can be better, though, as they only score 15.9% of the time, which is sixth-worst in the league.
Tristan Jarry has had a wonderful season, and is a big part of Pittsburgh’s success. The 26-year-old netminder had a disappointing showing last May in the playoffs, but is now posting an incredible .932 SV% and an 11.7 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
Since Jarry came in relief for Casey DeSmith against St. Louis, I’d expect to see him in net again for this matchup as well.
Flyers’ Season Has Been Roller Coaster
It’s hard to figure out Philly right now. There’s a laundry list of players who won’t be playing tonight, including captain Claude Giroux, Travis Sanheim, Ryan Ellis, Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, Ivan Provorov and a few more.
That’s an absurd amount of players missing due to either COVID or injury. The Flyers will have to rely on Joel Farabee and Kevin Hayes to carry the load in this typically heated matchup.
With the roller-coaster season the Flyers have endured, you can imagine they’ve struggled at driving play. They currently stand 26th in expected goals per 60 with a 2.16 xGF, and 24th in creating high danger chances.
While they’re slightly better than their counterparts on the power play, they only score at a 16.1% clip, which is still bottom-10 in the league. Injuries have riddled them, and it shows in the numbers. This team hasn’t been up to par.
Goaltending has been one of the few strengths for the orange and black. After an abysmal sophomore season, Carter Hart picked himself back up and is playing how many thought he could. He’s currently posting a quality .917 SV% and an 8.5 GSAx. Backup Martin Jones has been decent as well, but I can see Hart getting the nod in net for this matchup.
Flyers vs. Penguins Pick
It just seems like everything is working against the Flyers’ favor. They’re missing more than half of their top scorers and Pittsburgh is white-hot. (It’ll be interesting to see if Malkin comes back).
Philly allows a big amount of high danger chances, so given the fact that the Penguins are a deadly force, I’m backing Pittsburgh in this matchup. Even though the Pens are on the end of a back-to-back, they are superior here.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -140 or better.