NHL Hockey Betting: Vancouver Canucks at Philadelphia Flyers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Vancouver Canucks at Philadelphia Flyers&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Non-conference matchup on Thursday’s big card of NHL action as the Vancouver Canucks head East to take on the Philadelphia Flyers. These two teams are roughly at the same place in terms of wins and losses–Vancouver has 30 points while Philadelphia has 32. The big difference is recent form. The Canucks have lost seven of their last ten games (3-5-2) including two straight. The Flyers are 6-3-1 in their last ten games and are improbably clawing back into playoff contention after a bad run during the month of November.

The Flyers’ biggest problem is offense–they struggle to score goals which is why they’re ranked #29 in goals per game ahead of only lowly Anaheim. Philly averages 2.10 goals per game though they have scored 31 goals in their last 11 games–putting them at an average of just under 3 per game during that stretch. The problem is that their defense hasn’t been particularly good either–the Flyers currently rank #21 in team defense allowing 2.71 goals per game. Once again, they’ve shown some improvement in the near term and have cut their goals against to 2.54 per game in their last 11 contests. Overall, they’ve won 7 of their last 11 which isn’t bad at all.

Vancouver is also struggling to score goals ranking #21 in goals per game with 2.50. That might not sound bad but last year at this time they were a top ten goal scoring team. They’re also not a good defensive team allowing 2.84 goals per game–#23 in the NHL. In fact, the Canucks don’t do anything particularly well–they’ve got the #24 penalty kill and the #17 power play. Then again, neither does Philadelphia with the #25 power play and #18 penalty kill.

So with two evenly matched teams statistically we go back to form–the Flyers are in good form and the Canucks are in bad form. Philadelphia is just 4-8 in non-conference games but Vancouver is a pitiful 5-10 against the Eastern Conference this year. In goal, Jacob Markstrom will get his fifth start of the season for the Canucks (he’s 1-2-2 with a 2.87 goals against average this year) facing erratic Steve Mason. Mason can be very good at times but overall his numbers are nothing special.


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