#2 Philadelphia Flyersvs.#1 Vancouver Canucks
Thursday, January 1 2017, at 7:05pm EST
Written by David Hess
Vancouver Canucks (20-19-3-1 SU, 23-20 PL, 17-18-8 O/U) vs Philadelphia Flyers (21-16-2-4 SU, 19-24 PL, 22-16-5 O/U)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 12, 2016
Where: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA
Lines: Philadelphia -166/ Vancouver +150
NHL hockey action on Thursday night and the Vancouver Canucks will grapple with the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. The Canucks come in off a tough 2-1 loss in OT at Nashville, while the Flyers come in off a 4-1 road loss at to the Sabres. The Under is 3-1-1 the last five games between these teams here in Philadelphia.
The Vancouver Canucks had a nice little six-game win streak going, but after falling 2-1 in Nashville in their last game, they have now lost their last two games in a row. The offense has been a big issue in their last two losses as they scored just one goal in each game, after averaging 2.67 gpg during their win streak. In the loss to the Preds, the Canucks trailed 1-0 until Brandon Sutter scored with just 49 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it to OT, where the Preds won the game. It was Sutter’s 11 goal of the year and that ties him for 2nd on the team in scoring with Sven Baertschi, while Bo Horvat is the team’s leading scorer with 13. They will need much more offense as the season goes on as their goaltending will not hold up, even though it has been better of late.
Taking the loss vs the Preds was Ryan Miller, who is now 12-12 with a 2.59 GAA on the year, including 2-7 with a 3.25 GAA on the road, while vs the Flyers in his career he has gone 16-15 with a 2.82 GAA. The Canucks come into this game ranked 25th in the league in scoring at 2.37 gpg, while also ranking 29th in shots taken (27.5 spg) and 27th in power play conversions, converting on 13.7 of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they check in at 19th in goals allowed, giving up 2.84 gpg, while also ranking 20th in shots allowed (30.7) and 20th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 19.3 of their chances.
Earlier in the year, the Philadelphia offense was far better than it is playing right now. They come in having lost seven of their last eight games and have averaged just 1.63 gpg in those games. That just won’t get it done. In their last game, they faced some very average goaltending of the Sabres and while they were able to get off 40 shots in the game, they were able to muster just one goal in the 4-1 loss. Brayden Schenn scored their lone goal with just 2:08 left in regulation to avoid the shutout. It was his 13th of the year and it ties him with Jakub Voracek for 2nd on the team. Wayne Simmonds continues to lead the team with 17 goals on the year, but he is in a bit of a drought as he has scored just once in his last 11 games. They clearly need him to get back on track.
Taking the loss vs the Sabres was Steve Mason, who is now 14-20 with a 2.90 GAA on the year. Getting the nod in this one should be Michal Neuvirth, who has gone 5-2 with a 2.36 GAA on the year, including 2-1 with a 3.07 GAA here at home, while vs the Canucks in his career he has gone 1-2 with a 3.76 GAA. If mason gets the call in this one, then we note that he is 6-10 with a 3.03 GAA in his career vs the Canucks. The Flyers enter this game ranked 10th in the league in scoring at 2.79 gpg, while also ranking 6th in shots taken (31.7 spg) and 8th in power play conversions, converting on 21.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have not been that good as they come in ranked 27th in goals allowed, giving up just 3.00 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots allowed (28.6) and 18th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.9% of their chances.
The Canucks have been playing better of late and while they have lost their last two in a row, they have gone 6-2 in their last eight overall. The Flyers have really been inconsistent of late and they have lost seven of their last eight games. The problem for the Canucks in their last two games has been offense as they have put up just one goal in each game, while the Flyers have averaged just 1.63 gpg over their last eight games. See where I’m going here? These teams just don’t have the offense right now to have this be a high scoring game, even though the goaltending has been shoddy for both teams this year. Take the Under in this one as we see no more than three goals scored.
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