Pittsburgh Penguins (0-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (0-0)
NHL Hockey: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 5:30 pm (Wells Fargo Center)
The Line: Philadelphia Flyers -111 / Pittsburgh Penguins -111 --- Over/Under: 6.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers meet in an in-state rivalry matchup in NHL action from the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.
The Pittsburgh Penguins come into this season looking to bounce back from a disappointing finish to their 2019-20 campaign. The Penguins finished the regular season with a record of 40-23-6 before the league was forced to pause due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Penguins earned the 5th seed in the East, but the modified format of the playoffs cost the Pens dearly as Pittsburgh were forced to play in the qualifying round and were subsequently upset by the 12-seed Montreal Canadiens en route to an early exit. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are both back once again in the Steel City and are hoping to finally have a full healthy season together, especially after acquiring speedster Kasperi Kapanen from Toronto in the offseason. This year’s Penguins will certainly look different as Matt Murray was shipped to Ottawa, leaving starting goaltender duties to Tristan Jarry, who tied for the team-lead with 20 wins last season. The Penguins also had to ship out Patric Hornqvist, Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz, all of whom were mainstays for the Penguins in recent years. Only time will tell if this new direction will pay off for GM Jim Rutherford and the Pens.
The Philadelphia Flyers will look to follow up an extremely successful 2019-20 season, finishing with the top-seed in the conference after a round-robin seeding tournament, getting the top seed for the first time since 1999/2000. The Flyers eliminated Montreal in the first round before falling to the New York Islanders in the second round. There’s little change for the Flyers throughout the roster as Travis Konecny is back after leading the Flyers with 61 points including a team-high 24 goals while Jakub Voracek had 56 points with 44 assists to lead Philly in that department. Claude Giroux is back to anchor the Flyers as the Captain and Sean Couturier is also back after recording 59 points last season. The 2019-20 season also saw the emergence of Carter Hart as the new face in goal for the Flyers, following a long lineage featuring legends like Ron Hextall, Pelle Lindbergh and others. It will be interesting to see if this is the year that the Flyers can make that long-awaited deep run into the postseason that the fans have been waiting oh so long for.
Pittsburgh is 4-11 in their last 15 games overall and 2-7 in their last 9 road games while the over is 7-3-1 in their last 11 games against the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is 19-7 in their last 26 games overall and 23-9 in their last 32 home games while the under is 13-4-2 in their last 19 games against the Eastern Conference. The home team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between these two teams.
You have one team in Pittsburgh that’s had a lot of turnover and one team in Philadelphia that’s remained almost the same in Philadelphia, but regardless of who is on the team now and who isn’t, one thing that hasn’t changed and that’s that these two teams don’t like each other. With that said, I’m expecting this to be the hardest-hitting game of any on opening night, and I think we see a low-scoring affair so I’ll side with the under as my free pick for this game but my stronger play is on the side and I have that available as a premium pick that you can find here.