There were plenty of “experts” that said the New York Rangers had zero chance of making the playoffs because of a massive roster remake and rebuild. The Rangers never denied that they were making over the team and basically waived the white flag last February when they sent a letter to fans stating that their days as a contender were long gone. The Philadelphia Flyers were expected to return to the playoffs this year after making it to the post season last spring. So far, the results of the Flyers and Rangers have been quite different than expected.
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New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Date and Time: Friday, November 23, 2018, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
NHL Betting Online Odds at Bookmaker.eu: Check Back Later
Rangers vs. Flyers TV Coverage: NBC
The rebuilding Rangers have clearly exceeded expectations thus far with a far more competitive record and betting value than what was predicted in preseason. The Flyers have been a major disappointment so far after making the playoffs last spring. Their defensive and goaltending issues are a problem that could turn into a disaster. Yet Philadelphia could offer better value than expected as an underperforming team still capable of making the post season.
Philadelphia has lost four of their last seven games to now stand at 9-9-2 with a home record of 4-6-1. Six of their 11 home games have gone over the total. The Flyers are in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. Head coach Dave Hakstol arrived from the college ranks in 2015 and was seen as an innovative hire. But the results have been mixed and the defensive record subpar.
The Rangers have won seven of their last nine games to catapult into third place in the Metropolitan Division. Overall the Broadway Blueshirts are 10-8-2 with a road record of 3-5-2. New York has cleared the total in six out of ten games. New general manager Jeff Gorton hired rookie head coach David Quinn out of the amateur ranks from Team USA. Quinn was seen as a younger coach that could relate and work with a roster of newer players.
Despite their current standing the Rangers do not have strong metrics. In fact, New York ranks 22nd in the NHL for goal scoring, 21st for goals against, 28th for shots allowed, and 23rd for penalty killing.
Meanwhile Philadelphia is one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL. To show, the Flyers rank 30th in the league for goals against and 31st for penalty killing. Offensively Philadelphia has not been much better with rankings of 16th for goal scoring and 24th for the power play.
Veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist continues to be a mainstay in New York. And King Henrik has impressed all with a .918 save percentage with a 2.71 goals against average.
Philadelphia is in big time trouble between the pipes. Both Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth are plagued with groin injuries. As a result, Cal Pickard has been thrust into the pit and has proven incapable so far. Pickard has a damning .852 save percentage with a 4.60 goals against average.
Players to Watch
One asset that the Flyers still have is good goal scoring depth. Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds each have eight goals while Claude Giroux has seven and Scott Laughton has six. Defenseman Robert Hagg has three goals, six assists and an impressive plus 11 for the Flyers.
Left wing Chris Kreider has gotten off to a hot start for the Broadway Blueshirts. Kreider has 11 goals and seven assists with a plus four.
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Despite their recent success the Rangers scoring depth remains a long-term concern. The Flyers are likely better than their record and should get back on track soon.
NHL Live Betting Odds Picks: Philadelphia Flyers
NHL Score Prediction:Flyers 4, Rangers 2
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