Friday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Vancouver vs. Philadelphia Betting Preview (Oct. 15)
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- Vancouver takes its talent on the ice to Philadelphia for Friday's NHL showdown.
- The Flyers enter this matchup with the Canucks on home ice as a solid betting favorite.
- Hockey analyst Grant White breaks down the matchup below and explains why he's backing Philadelphia.
Canucks vs. Flyers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Vancouver Canucks will be traveling south of the border for the first time since the COVID-19 shortened season of 2019-20 for a date with the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s a tough early-season spot for the Canucks as they play the first night of a back-to-back with travel against two teams they haven’t seen in over a year and a half.
The Canucks stole an undeserved point from their opening-season loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Vancouver recovered from a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime against its division rivals. The advanced metrics support that the Canucks were lucky to get that point after getting outplayed at five-on-five from start to finish.
In total, the Canucks posted a 38.9% expected goals rate (xGF%), getting out-possessed, out-shot, and out-chanced in scoring and high-danger opportunities. Those metrics are even more concerning across all strengths, illustrating Vancouver’s ineffectiveness with the man-advantage.
Vancouver had five power plays, compared to the Oilers two, still only recording an expected goals rate of 42.6% through 65 minutes. The Canucks’ poor start perpetuates their questionable metrics from last season, in which they finished with the league’s worst expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five.
The Canucks have a long way to go if they plan on competing for a playoff spot this season.
It was an off-season of change for the Flyers, as they moved on from several mainstays on their roster from previous seasons. Shane Gostisbehere, Nolan Patrick, and Jakub Voracek were traded away for Cam Atkinson and help on the Flyers’ back end, namely Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen. Although, Ristolainen will be absent for the first few games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Friday night’s game will be the Flyers’ first game of the season, and they should be circled as progression candidates in 2021-22. Philadelphia finished in the middle of the pack last season with a 50.2% expected goals-for percentage.
They managed to keep their collective heads above average in Corsi rating and production metrics, out-chancing their opponents in scoring chances and out-shooting them throughout the season. However, there was a substantial difference between expected and actual output.
The Flyers ended the 2021 season with the 15th-ranked xGF% and 24th-ranked actual goals for percentage. That difference is reflected in their PDO (sum of shooting and save percentages), as the Flyers had the worst mark in the NHL.
In assessing the Flyers’ chances this season, they appear to be set for meaningful progression as their actual output balances with production. They get a favorable spot in their season-opener against one of the worst advanced metrics teams in the league.
Canucks vs. Flyers Pick
Goaltender usage will be critical for the Canucks as they play the first night of a back-to-back. The new standard in the NHL is to start your backup on the first night, to have the primary goalie fresh on the second night when the team might be a little slower. That means that Jaroslav Halak is your expected starter, as the Canucks should favor saving Thatcher Demko for Saturday.
Halak is in the twilight of his career, posting the second-worst save percentage of his career last season with -1.6 goals saved above average. His job between the pipes gets harder on a Nucks squad that gives up more chances than nearly every other team.
That will be compounded by a Flyers team that is due for progression. The Flyers are the right side to be on as moderately priced home favorites.
Pick: Flyers -156
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