Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers vs New Jersey Devils

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Flyers

Since the All-Star break, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves riding a three-game points streak. The heartbreaking loss away against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime salvaged a point, but two regulation wins afterward against the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings have put the Flyers in striking distance of third place in the Metropolitan Division. Tonight, Philadelphia welcomes the worst of the Metro, as the New Jersey Devils come to the Wells Fargo Center. Every team in the Metropolitan Division has a record above .500 except for the Devils. When the final period has expired, the hope is to extend into a four-game point streak with another win in regulation.

Speaking of streaking, the Philadelphia Flyers enter tonight’s game as winners of four of their last five. The New Jersey Devils have lost their last three games and have yet to defeat the Flyers this season. When the puck drops for the faceoff tonight, both Ivan Provorov and Claude Giroux will have started their 300th consecutive game. Giroux needs one more goal to score 250 in his career and three points to secure 800 career points. Another player tracking a milestone is Shayne Gostisbehere, who would become the sixth defenseman in team history to reach 200 points in his career.

Brian Elliott will get the start at home for the Philadelphia Flyers. The starting goaltender for the New Jersey Devils is Mackenzie Blackwood. Over the last ten games against each other, the Flyers own a record of 6-3-1. Philadelphia has won the last three games against the Devils, including a shootout win. On the injury report, New Jersey lists Sami Vatanen (undisclosed), Nico Hischier (knee), and PK Subban as day-to-day (illness).

New Jersey Devils – Skaters

Offensively, the New Jersey Devils will stay afloat if Kyle Palmieri helps solve Brian Elliott. He leads the team in points (35), is tied for the team lead in goals (19), leads the team in powerplay goals (10), and has the most game-winning goals (3) on the Devils. With Nico Hischier out against the Philadelphia Flyers, the offensive output will be spearheaded by Palmieri. New Jersey also benefits with Palmieri on the ice, when discussing team play, as he also leads the team in the +/- department with a score of three. Expect a lot of the offense to go through one player against the Flyers.

Defensively, look to Damon Severson to lead the charge for the New Jersey Devils. He has played in every single game this season, the only Devils defenseman to do so. He is only second to Sami Vatanen in points (20) for New Jersey defensemen, who did not make the trip with his team to Philadelphia. Severson plays a physical brand of defense, second in hits (64) among all Devils defensemen. While placed second in hits, he is third among New Jersey defensemen in blocked shots (70).

New Jersey Devils – Goaltending

As noted earlier, Mackenzie Blackwood is the probable starter for the New Jersey Devils. Earlier this season, he was in the net against the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout loss. In that game against the Flyers, Blackwood saved 28 of 31 shots to secure a 90.3% save percentage. Overall, Blackwood owns a 15-12-7 record this season. Less than half of his starts are quality starts and he’s surrendering a goal against average of three.

Faceoff Possession

One team has a winning percentage in the faceoff circle that exceeds 50%. The New Jersey Devils are at 47.1% while the Philadelphia Flyers maintain 53.8%. On the Devils, the best faceoff opportunist is Travis Zajac. For the Flyers, they look to Claude Giroux. The advantage here stays with Philadelphia.

Prediction

With the opportunity to rise to third place in the Metropolitan standings tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers cannot afford to play down to the New Jersey Devils. Brian Elliott has been playing well in the net against teams with good scorers as of late. My prediction is that the Flyers win in regulation against the Devils who are bad and are missing key players on offense and defense. Puck drop is at 7 pm from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers are favorited on the money line at -210 and the over/under is set at 6.

Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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