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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Flyers (November 25)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Penguins vs. Flyers (November 25) article feature image
Credit:

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar. Pictured: Sidney Crosby

  • A pair of streaky teams go head-to-head as the Flyers host the Penguins.
  • Philadelphia has dropped eight straight games and Pittsburgh has won four straight
  • Ryan Dadoun previews the game and shares his best bet below.

Penguins vs. Flyers Odds

Penguins Odds -240
Flyers Odds +195
Over/Under 6 (-122/+100)
Time 5:30 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Flyers and Penguins have been streaky this season and lately they’re moving in opposite directions. Philadelphia jumped out to a surprising 7-3-2 start, but the Flyers have dropped their past eight games to fall to 7-8-5. The Penguins endured a seven-game losing streak from Oct. 24-Nov. 5 that pushed their record to 4-6-2, but they’ve won six of their past eight games and are riding a four-game winning streak.

So with the Penguins hot and the Flyers cold, will Pittsburgh come out on top or will we see both teams end their streaks Friday evening?

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Healthy Penguins

The Penguins tend to have to endure more than their fair share of significant injuries. Most notably, Evgeni Malkin has only played in at least 75 games twice since the 2009-10 campaign, while Kris Letang has logged at least 75 contests three times since his career began in 2006-07. Pittsburgh has battled injuries this season too, but at the moment, everyone appears to be available.

That gives the Penguins an embarrassment of riches. Their projected top-two lines are Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and Rickard Rakell, followed by Jason Zucker, Malkin and Bryan Rust. Most teams would be thrilled to use either of those as their first line.

That leaves Jeff Carter, who has a solid three goals and 11 points in 17 contests, centering the third line while Kasperi Kapanen, who isn’t far removed from being an effective middle-six forward, has frequently been a healthy scratch. Thanks to their combination of star power and depth, the Penguins have the sixth-ranked offense with 3.55 goals per game.

In goal, Tristan Jarry has had some rough patches this season, but might have turned a corner recently. He stopped 65 of 66 shots in his past two games against Winnipeg and Calgary. That’s pushed him up to 7-3-2 with a 3.06 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

The Penguins aren’t a team without weaknesses. Most notably, this is a fairly old squad. Jeff Petry, Letang, Crosby, Malkin and Carter are all 34 or older. Given that, it unfortunately wouldn’t be shocking Pittsburgh’s good fortune on the health front doesn’t last. But as long as the Penguins do have all hands on deck, they are a force to be reckoned with.


Injured Flyers

The Flyers haven’t been nearly as fortunate when it comes to injuries. In fact, the Flyers could make a pretty solid team comprised entirely of their unavailable players. Up front they’re without Scott Laughton (upper body), James van Riemsdyk (finger), Sean Couturier (back), Travis Konecny (upper body), Cam Atkinson (upper body) and Wade Allison (oblique). Their defense is comparatively healthy, but they are missing one key blueliner in Ryan Ellis (back).

It’s impressive the Flyers are even 7-8-5 given both the injuries they’ve endured and the fact that not much was expected of them going into the season. Before the season began, many thought the Flyers would finish the campaign with one of the worst records in the NHL.

A big part of the reason Philadelphia was able to defy expectations, at least initially, was goaltender Carter Hart. He came out of the gate playing like a Vezina Trophy candidate, posting a 6-0-2 record, 1.97 GAA and a .946 save percentage through Nov. 5. The good times are over though as Hart is 0-4-2 with a 3.63 GAA and a .876 save percentage since. If you’re looking for the single biggest reason why the Flyers started well and have since collapsed, that’s it.

The Flyers are also the worst team in the league offensively with 2.50 goals per game. Given their list of injured players, that’s hardly surprising, but it does help illustrate why the Flyers were so dependent on outstanding goaltending early on and why they are incapable of even occasionally overcoming poor goaltending now.

Kevin Hayes is having a strong season with five goals and 19 points in 20 games, but he’s one of just three healthy Flyers forwards with at least 10 points. By contrast, seven Penguins forwards have reached or surpassed the 10-point milestone.

Penguins vs. Flyers Pick

Any team could win any game, but given the Flyers’ struggles and injury issues, combined with the Penguins’ health and strong play, Pittsburgh is about as good of a bet as you could make. I feel strong enough about the Penguins’ chances of winning this game that I’ll even recommend them on the puck line, where the spread is 1.5 goals against them.

Pittsburgh has won three of its past four games by at least two goals while Philadelphia has dropped five of its past eight contests by two or more goals.

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