Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers returned from their bye week/ all-star break mix. Despite a gritty game by the orange and black, Sidney Crosby had the answer in overtime as the Penguins defeated the Flyers 4-3.
Now, the Flyers will be playing host to a team coming off their week off. As the second game of a back-to-back, the Flyers (27-17-7) host the Colorado Avalanche (28-15-6) Saturday night.
Catch the game at 7 p.m. EST with coverage beginning at 6:30 on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
The Flyers are +210 Moneyline underdogs with the over/under set at 5.5 goals.
Know Your Enemy:
Colorado won its final three games before the All-Star break, all at home. This will be their first road game since January 7th, where they dropped a game to the Rangers. However, they have been one of the better road teams this season, with a 14-8-2 record on the road.
The Avs’ offense is led by Nathan MacKinnon, who is tied for third in the NHL for points with 72. He is the only player who has at least both 30 goals and 40 assists this season. Along with leading rookie scorer, defenseman Cole Makar, the Avalanche are (essentially) tied for the NHL with 3.65 goals per game.
Colorado is also a stable defensive team. On the season, they are in the top ten in goals-against average, only allowing 2.71 goals against. Both goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz have at least 12 wins and have a combined GAA of 2.64.
Alex Lyon is set to make his second start of the season, according to Bill Meltzer. Lyon faced a whopping 44 shots in his first start this season against the Canadians. He was able to fend off 40 of the shots but allowed four in the 4-1 Flyers’ loss. In 14 career appearances (nine starts) for the Flyers, the 27-year-old netminder is 4-4-1 with a .894 save percentage and 3.14 GAA.
Philipp Grubauer won each of his last two starts prior to the All-Star break. On the season, he comes carrying momentum as he looks to extend his 14-10-4 record in a positive direction. In his 29 starts, Grubauer has a .910 save percentage and 2.82 goals-against average.
Key to the Game:
At home, Philadelphia has been stellar on the penalty kill. The Flyers are ranked third in the NHL on the penalty kill at home, as they kill off 86.8 percent. This helps them remain in the NHL’s Top 10 on the overall PK at 82.2%, compared to last year through 52 games when they were 76.4 and 28th in the NHL.
(Stats via https://www.nhl.com/flyers/news/5-things-flyers-vs-avalanche/c-314520180)
On the flip side, Colorado is in the bottom ten in converting on their powerplays this season (18.6%). When down a man, they are in the bottom half of teams as well, only killed 79.1% of their penalty kills. However, the Avs are sitting at 5th in the NHL with shorthanded goals (7).
The Flyers need to stabilize their special teams and watch any breakaways if they’re on a powerplay. Stay out of the box, stay disciplined, and capitalize on the Avs’ weaker penalty kill.
Slam the over.
The Flyers have picked up points in five of their last six, and score 3.52 goals at Wells Fargo Center. Colorado also sits in the top four for goals on the road, scoring 3.32 per game. Both of these teams are going to come out with a lot of energy.
The Flyers are playing the second game of their 11th back-to-back of 17 total this season. They are 4-4-2 in the second game, including wins in two of their last three second games.
This may not be the most confident prediction, but Flyers win, 5-3.