2018 NHL Playoffs: Flyers at Penguins Hockey Odds & Game 5 Pick
The Pittsburgh Penguins can take one step closer to becoming the first team since the New York Islanders of the early 1980s to win three Stanley Cups in a row as the Pens are big hockey odds favorites on Friday to eliminate the rival Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. Let’s take a look at those NHL lines.
How to Bet Flyers at Penguins NHL Hockey Odds & Game 5 Info
When: Friday, 7 PM ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 97.5 FM (Philadelphia) / 105.9 FM (Pittsburgh)
Opening Hockey Odds: Penguins -255, Flyers +205 (6)
Why Bet on Philadelphia?
The Flyers will play desperate but also could be missing one of their best forwards again – and they also have huge questions in net. Philly has just one win in eight games vs. Pittsburgh this season after losing Game 4 on Wednesday, 5-0 at home. The Flyers dropped Games 3 and 4 at home for the first time since 1989 in the Conference Finals.
Brian Elliott got pulled after allowing three goals on 17 shots. Kris Letang’s shot took a deflection off of Andrew MacDonald’s stick before finding its way into the net. Elliott looked visibly frustrated after that goal and it forced head coach Dave Hakstol to pull him in favor of Michal Neuvirth. Neuvirth allowed two goals on 13 shots. Elliott has largely been terrible this series so who starts Friday? Good question. Neuvirth had been dealing with a lower-body injury since late March.
Superstar Claude Giroux hasn’t been much of a factor in this series. In Game 4, he had a minus-3 rating and a giveaway. The 30-year-old forward has just one assist in four playoff games.
What About Couturier?
Sean Couturier has been chosen as one of the finalists for the Selke Trophy. This season was Couturier’s coming-out party in the NHL, as he put up some impressive offensive numbers (31 goals and 76 points in 82 games). He’s one of the better defensive players in the league this season and a finalist with the Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron.
However, Courtier missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury suffered in practice ahead of it after he collided with teammate Radko Gudas. The 25-year-old Courtier has one goal and two assists in three games this postseason. Nolan Patrick took his place centering the top line with Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Couturier skated on his own Thursday and will at least travel to Pittsburgh. He’s likely to be a game-time call: “I’m just coming to the rink every day, getting treatments and trying to feel better. I guess the thing is see how I feel (Friday) morning. It’s really up to my body. See how it keeps progressing and how I feel.”
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
In their three wins this series, the Pens have scored seven, five and five goals. In their loss, they had one. For Wednesday’s win, superstar Sidney Crosby made history. He had a goal and assist to become the franchise’s all-time playoff scoring leader.
Crosby has 173 career playoff points on 62 goals and 111 assists in 152 games. Mario Lemieux, a part-owner now, had 76 goals and 96 assists for 172 points in 107 playoff games. Crosby tied the record with a first-period assist. He made a cross-crease pass to set up Evgeni Malkin for a power-play goal that gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at the 4:33 mark. Crosby broke the record with a second-period goal that made it 4-0. He has five goals and four assists in the series.
Malkin is no playoff slouch himself and had a goal and an assist. The Russian forward has now picked up five points in the opening round to bring his career playoff totals to 61 goals and 162 points in 153 games.
Who Debuted in Game 4?
Dominik Simon registered an assist. He was making his NHL playoffs debut after Patric Hornqvist (upper body) was ruled out for the contest. Simon finished with a plus-two rating in 12:36 minutes of ice time. Hornqvist won’t return for Game 5. Simon will stay on the top line with Crosby and Jake Guentzel due to Hornqvist’s absence. Hornqvist has three points (one goal, two assists) in three playoff games, after having 49 points (29 goals, 20 assists) in 70 regular-season games.
Guentzel moved from the second power-play unit to the first, where Hornqvist normally is the net-front presence. The Penguins, who had the No. 1 power play in the NHL during the regular season at 26.2 percent, went 1-for-4 without Hornqvist on Wednesday.
Kris Letang found the back of the net and has a goal and four points in four playoff games. He played a whopping 28:40 minutes Wednesday. Matt Murray stopped all 26 shots he faced. It was his second shutout of the season and is now 25-10 all-time in the playoffs. He’s the fastest goalie to ever reach 25 playoff wins.
Latest Hockey Odds Trends
- Philadelphia is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games on the road
- Philadelphia is 3-8 SU in its last 11 games on the road
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Philadelphia’s last 9 games when playing Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
- Pittsburgh is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Pittsburgh’s last 9 games when playing Philadelphia
Expert NHL Playoffs Betting Prediction
This series is over. Best value in the hockey odds is on Pittsburgh on the puck line.