Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals NHL Odds & Pick: Expect Offensive Fireworks to Continue
Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: The Capitals played the Flyers on Sunday.
Editor’s Note: This game has been canceled due to COVID-19 issues on the Flyers.
Flyers vs. Capitals Odds
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday night and via DraftKings.|
The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals enter Tuesday’s game in second and third place, respectively, in the East Division. Despite their positive results, both teams have question marks surrounding their play. We saw the issues and sloppiness first hand on Sunday, when the Flyers beat the Caps 7-4.
The Capitals have had their lineup ravaged by injuries and illness over the past few weeks, but they may get some key players back for Tuesday’s matchup. Will this help Washington avenge Sunday’s loss?
The Flyers enter this game with an 8-3-2 record. After a red-hot finish to last year’s regular season and a solid run in the playoffs, many expected Philly to be among the league’s best teams this year.
Their record would lead you to believe that is the case, but the Flyers must improve if they want to maintain this rate of winning. If you look under the hood, you’ll see a flawed team. The Flyers rank fourth from the bottom in expected goal (xG) rate. They have the worst shot-attempt rate in the league. They are a bottom-10 team in high-danger chances.
If you looked at the Flyers’ metrics, you’d expect them to struggle offensively. Their mark of 1.87 xG-scored per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 is fourth from the bottom. Despite this, Philly is scoring more than three goals per hour at even strength, which is a top-five mark in the league. Their 13.56% shooting percentage at 5-on-5 is the highest in the league, which makes it a prime candidate for regression.
It’s not crazy for Philadelphia to outperform its metrics, as this is a very talented offensive group. The Flyers’ top nine forwards are arguably the deepest trio of lines in the league. While it’s shocking this group is doing such a poor job of generating offense, it’s not shocking to see them score at a high rate.
Defensively, the Flyers are in the bottom third in terms of xG-against per hour at 5-on-5. They are not being helped much by Carter Hart, who entered the season with high hopes. Hart has posted a -6.14 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) through his nine starts. This is the fourth worst mark in the league.
When it comes to the Capitals, I can almost literally copy and paste what I wrote above about the Flyers, change a few names and have it apply perfectly.
Washington has a winning record despite being bottom-10 in every analytical category. The Capitals’ expected offensive production is bottom five, but their actual production at 5-on-5 is top three. They have the second highest shooting percentage in the league. They also boast a tremendous collection of talent when healthy. Their team defense is middling while their goaltender finds himself in the bottom 10 of GSAx.
With Washington, it’s a little easier to explain away the inconsistent play. This team has been ravaged by injuries to begin the year.
The only top-six player on the Capitals to play in every game is Nicklas Backstrom, and even he left a game early due to injury. Alex Ovechkin has returned from the COVID list. Tom Wilson is back in the lineup after missing games earlier in the year due to injury. Evgeny Kuznetsov might make his return in this game after a three-week long battle with COVID. Now, TJ Oshie has an upper body injury. Jakub Vrana has been put on the COVID list.
On the defensive side, Justin Schultz is day-to-day and has missed a few games. Dmitry Orlov missed games due to COVID. Ilya Samsonov also might make his return this game. That’s two top-four defensemen and the Caps’ starting goalie.
While Kuznetsov, Schultz and Samsonov all have a chance to play in this game, the team will be without Oshie and Vrana in all likelihood. Under first-year head coach Peter Laviolette, they haven’t had any continuity in their lineups to get settled into the season. It has shown in their often sloppy performances the past few weeks.
Flyers vs. Capitals Best Bet
These two teams played on Sunday afternoon, and we saw what happens when two extremely talented, flawed teams go at it. The two teams combined for 11 goals, more than five expected goals at 5-on-5, more than 100 shot attempts and nearly 30 high-danger chances.
While both teams are due for offensive regression, I don’t think expecting it to happen in this game is wise. With neither team great at controlling play or puck possession, I expect we’ll see another back-and-forth game with a lot of chances being traded.
Neither Hart nor Vitek Vanecek have been all that impressive to open the season. If Samsonov makes his return for Washington between the pipes, it’ll be his first game in over three weeks.
Washington’s power play can be an X-factor in this game. The Capitals currently have the best conversion percentage in the league, while the Flyers have a bottom-five penalty kill. This can add even more goals to a game that I expect to be high-flying at 5-on-5.
To begin the year, the Capitals have gone over the total in nine of their first 12 games. Philadelphia has gone over in nine of its first 13. These teams play high scoring games, and I think we’ll see another one on Tuesday.
Pick: Over 6 Goals (-120)