Play the "Over" in Flyers vs. Penguins for Your NHL Picks

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 3:41 PM GMT

WIth the Penguins playing quite poorly as we're closing in on the NHL All-Star Game, the NHL's leading scorers Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux look to seize the moment and serve the Pens their 3 consecutive loss.

Ice time is set for 7:30 pm ET tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to 5Dimes Sportsbook, the Penguins are a heavy -160 betting favorite on the road and the total for the game is 5.5. Immediately, those NHL odds appear a bit high and I'm wondering whether the Penguins are a good fade as they have been playing poorly lately and Philadelphia is very capable of putting the puck in the net.

 

Starting Goalies
I advise you to keep an eye on any site that provides the starting goalies for the day. As of now,it's quite early and there's no confirmation of who will be in net. For now, we'll assume that Marc-Andre Fluery will be in net for the Penguins while Ray Emery or Rob Zepp should be the goalie for the Flyers in Tuesday night's game.

In their last game, the Flyers lost to the Islanders, 7-4. Goalie Rob Zepp (3-1, 2.92 GAA ) started for the Flyers and was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 20 shots on goal. Ray Emery, who has lost 5 straight games, came in relief of Zepp and allowed 2 goals in 20 shots on goal in the loss. While Emery has been the starter for most of the season, this leaves a dilemma for the Flyers starting goal situation as Emery hasn't been able to win a game. While Emery is a first-stringer, the Flyers might elect to go back to Zepp in net.

The Flyers are a really poor defensive team, allowing 3 goals per game and this could be a major opportunity for the Pittsburgh offense to run away with this game tonight.

The Penguins are coming off of a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers, but nobody has been able to stop Rick Nash and the Blueshirts as of late and the Pens take a major drop in level of opponent when facing their interstate rivals in the Flyers.

Marc-Andre Fluery (22-9-4, 2.33 GAA) gives the Penguins a decisive edge in net, but he's coming off of a rare poor performance in which he was lifted early against the Rangers as he allowed 4 goals on just 17 shots. I don't think that they're will be a lingering effect for Fluery, who has lost his last 2 games and allowed 9 goals in that period of time. In those losses, he faced two of the hottest teams in the NHL in the Rangers and the Islanders.

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Top Level NHL Team 
Despite their poor play as of late, the Penguins have proven that they're a well rounded team and will be a major threat when we hit the post-season.Pittsburgh ranks 5th in the NHL in goals (3.0), 8th in goals against (2.5), 5th on the power play at 23.4 % and 3rd on the power play kill at 87.7%.

While Sidney Crosby's offense has taken a dramatic drop where goals are concerned, he's still a major force on the Penguins as he leads the team with 51 points. You know that a player is really good when they're considered to be underperforming and have 51 points in 44 games. That said, Crosby has picked up the pace in 2015 with 4 goals and 9 assists in just 7 games and he's scored 4 goals and 4 assists in his last 4 games. I definitely expect Sid the Kid to be a major factor in this game as the Flyers defense and net problems should lead to their demise.

The Flyers not only have to deal with the Penguins front line, but defenseman Kris Letang is one of the best defenseman in the league.

In his last 7 games, Letang has 1 goal and 8 assists. Letang is a tireless worker, seeing in excess of 25 minutes on ice per game. While the Flyers can certainly keep up with the Penguins offensively with 50 point scorers in Jakub Voracek (17 goals, 38 assists) and Claude Giroux (15 goals, 35 assists), it's their defense that can't keep up with the Pens.

Pittsburgh appears to be the play, but I'm not in love with the odds on the road. Let's side with the total and take the over for our NHL picks as there should be a great deal of offense in this game.

Free NHL Pick: Philadelphia/Pittsburgh Over 5.5 at 5Dimes

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