Philadelphia Flyers (14-16-7) at New Jersey Devils (13-19-7)
|Date & Time||Saturday January 3, 2015, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New Jersey Devils -115 / Philadelphia Flyers +104 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
Every time it looks like the Flyers might be starting to take significant steps forward they always seem to find a way to fall right back down. Philadelphia doesn’t look like a good hockey team this year and the true mark of that is a club that can’t continue to play winning hockey for long stretches. In the midst of a brutal eight game road trip the Flyers managed to come together at the beginning. On the Saturday before Christmas the Flyers started their trip with a 7-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and followed those up with wins over the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild. It looked like this might be the type of road trip that would bring the Flyers together and be one of those moments in the season to look back on as a turning point. Since then the Flyers have lost three straight, scoring just six goals in losses at Nashville, Phoenix, and Colorado. To make matters worse the loss in Colorado was the start of a three games in four nights stretch to end the eight game trip that concludes on Saturday night in New Jersey. Philadelphia was hoping to get back on the winning track against the lowly Carolina Hurricanes but their offense let them down once again. The Flyers looked like a club at the end of a long road trip in this one and came out flat from the start. Carolina out shot the Flyers 12-4 in the first period and Philadelphia managed just 11 shots on goal through two periods. Trailing 2-0 in the third it was Andrew MacDonald that got the Flyers on the board but it wasn’t enough. Now the Flyers need to see if the can find a way to steal a win at New Jersey and salvage this road trip that once was off to such a promising start. Things are not looking great for the Flyers in the playoff picture right now and games against teams like the Devils need to be ones that they find a way to win.
New Jersey enters Saturday nights contest with problems of their own. The Devils have played four games since the firing of head coach Peter Deboer and they’re just 1-3 during that stretch. Anyone who watched this club for long stretches knew that the problems were much more than Deboer. An aging roster, struggling young players, and inconsistent goaltending have plagued the Devils since the season started. Deboer might not have been doing a ton to improve things but it was clear that no matter who was behind the bench that this just wasn’t a very good hockey team. Friday night the Devils hosted the Montreal Canadiens and once again just could not produce enough offense to make a difference. After a scoreless first period the Devils surrendered two second period goals to the Habs, a difference that is almost insurmountable for this club. Michael Bournival’s goal early in the third period pretty much iced the game for Montreal despite the Devils and their late rally. Mike Cammalleri continued his strong season for New Jersey, chipping in with his 12th goal of the season after Michael Ryder had gotten the Devils on the board. That was as close as the Devils would get however and the Canadiens sealed the victory with an empty net goal. New Jersey is a lot like Philadelphia in that their offense has struggled and the rest of their club just isn’t good enough to make up for that.
Both of these clubs are bad hockey teams right now but the Flyers look like a team that is absolutely shot at the end of this road trip. Neither one should be trusted right now but I’ll take my chances with the home club in this one.