Jimmy’s NHL picks record: 44-48-2
Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
Free NHL Picks: Red Wings ML & ‘Over’
Best Lines Offered: BetOnline
After the Flyers fired general manager Ron Hextall on November 26 and replaced him with Chuck Fletcher on December 4, there was a not-so-silent expectation around the NHL that head coach Dave Hakstol would be let go as well, once Fletcher was able to gauge what was ailing his new team. Well, on Sunday, the Flyers denied a report by Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post that Hakstol would be fired by mid-day Monday and replaced by former Blackhawks head coach and three-time Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville. Less than 24 hours, the dysfunctional franchise fired Hakstol and replaced him with former Islanders head coach Scott Gordon on an interim basis.
While there’s always the belief that a team will come out flying and win their new coach’s debut, that won’t be the case Tuesday for this mess of a team and Fletcher will be the next GM to be reminded that it’s usually not the coach’s fault but rather the players. Expect a better effort from the Flyers, but not good enough. The Red Wings money line is the play here with your NHL picks.
With third-string goalie Anthony Stolarz being placed on injured reserve Monday, the Flyers called up rookie phenom Carter Hart. There was no announcement as to whether or not Hart would make his NHL debut Tuesday, but as pointed out by Emily Kaplan of ESPN.com Monday on Twitter, if Hart plays in his first NHL game before the holiday break (December 24-26), the Flyers will become only the second team in NHL history to use six goalies before Christmas
As so many of the Flyers opponents have done this season, you can expect the Red Wings to pounce on the inexperience between the pipes and the horrible team defense that has allowed 116 goals through 31 games. Detroit isn’t some offensive juggernaut by any means, having scored 98 goals through 34 games, but they have generated more offense than expected and should be able to do so at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.
This is the first of three meetings between the Eastern Conference foes and you can bet the Wings, who were amazingly only 5 points out of a playoff spot prior to NHL action Monday, are foaming at the mouth to pounce on the lowly Flyers. Detroit has surprised plenty of teams thus far with their speed, goaltending (specifically from Jimmy Howard) and contributions from a mixture of veterans like Gustav Nyquist and younger players such as Dylan Larkin. They may still be below .500, but one thing is for certain, more often than not, head coach Jeff Blashill, who earlier in the season was on the hot seat according to some, has his team ready to play.
The Red Wings are 14-20 against the spread and 6-8 on the road. Detroit has scored 98 goals and allowed 115. They’re 17-15-2 on the over/under and 10-5-0 on the road. The Wings are 20-14 on the puck line and 9-6 on the road. Larkin leads the team in goals with 14 and points with 32. Nyquist has the most assists with 21.
The Flyers are 12-19 against the spread and 5-7 at home. Philadelphia has scored 93 goals and allowed 116. They’re 19-12-0 on the over/under and 8-6-0 at home. The Flyers are 13-18 on the puck line and 4-10 at home. Claude Giroux leads the team in assists with 28 and points with 39. Sean Couturier leads the Flyers in goals with 13.
For the Red Wings, Howard is 10-7-0-4 with a 2.69 GAA and .922 save percentage. Backup Jonathan Bernier is 4-8-0-1 with a 3.58 GAA and .890 save percentage.
For the Flyers, Alex Lyon is 1-0-1-0 with a 5.07 GAA and .806 save percentage.
For the Red Wings, defenseman Mike Green is out 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser is on injured reserve with a hand injury. Forward Anthony Mantha is out 4-5 weeks with a hand injury. Forward Darren Helm is out four weeks with a shoulder injury. Forward Evgeny Svechnikov is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
For the Flyers, goalie Anthony Stolarz is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Goalie Brian Elliott is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Goalie Michal Neuvirth is on a leave of absence for the birth of his baby. Forward Corban Knight is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. Forward Pascal Laberge is out indefinitely with a hip injury.
Final score prediction: Red Wings 4, Flyers 3