NHL Hockey: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

The Philadelphia Flyers have been a very schizophrenic team this season. At home, they’ve looked pretty good with a 4-1-0 record. On the road, they’re 1-3-1. They beat the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on October 24 and lost a 3-2 shootout decision in Vancouver on October 12. With the exception of these two games they’ve lost every road game by 2 or more goals. They’ll try to get some road momentum going coming off a 5-3 loss at the Islanders on Sunday when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

The Penguins haven’t been tearing it up with Evgeni Malkin sidelined but they’re at least ‘treading water’ going 6-5-0 in their last 10 games. That being said, they’ve got to step up their game as the Eastern Conference is looking much tougher this year than it was last year. Were the season to end tonight they’d have the top wildcard spot in the East but with 14 points their grasp on that berth is extremely tenuous. Tampa Bay, Columbus and Montreal are right behind them with 12 points and the Flyers aren’t far off the pace with 11.

Pittsburgh went on a nice run in early October winning five straight against some tough opponents beating Anaheim, Colorado and Dallas at home as well as Minnesota and Winnipeg on the road. They then lost the next three dropping a 3-0 home decision to the Vegas Golden Knights and road games against the Panthers and Lightning. They recovered to end the road trip by beating Dallas 3-0 on Saturday. Their scoring numbers are a bit misleading–they started the year scoring a ton of goals and after 6 games were averaging 4.16 goals per game. In the 6 games since, they’ve averaged only 2.33 goals per game. They’ve been solid on defense during that stretch and have allowed only 2.33 goals per game. Had they done this all season they’d currently have the #3 scoring defense in hockey.

The Flyers conclude this quick East Coast road swing on Friday at New Jersey and then return home for games against Toronto, Carolina and Montreal. Flyers’ defense has been marginal but they’ve put up good numbers offensively–they currently have the #7 goals per game ranking in the NHL with 3.50 per contest. They’re allowing 3 per game and that’s something that needs to improve. Don’t trust either team in this matchup at the moment but a play on the ‘Under’ looks solid. Flyers are weak on the road and Pittsburgh has done a nice job dictating tempo of late. Pittsburgh has 4 UN, 1 OV and 1 push in their last 6 games.


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