2018 NHL Playoffs Game 1 Preview & Hockey Lines: Flyers at Penguins

Posted by Jordan Walters on Tuesday,April 10, 2018 9:32, EDT in

How good are things going for sports fans in the city of Philadelphia of late? The Eagles won the Super Bowl, Villanova won the national title, the 76ers are about to set the franchise record for consecutive wins, and the Flyers have a shot at ending the hated rival Penguins’ chances at a Stanley Cup repeat. However, Pittsburgh is solidly favored in Hockey lines to advance.

2018 NHL Playoffs Game 1 Preview & Hockey Lines: Flyers at Penguins

When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena
TV: NBC Sports Network
Stream: NHL.tv
Radio:  97.5 FM (Philadelphia) / 105.9 FM (Pittsburgh)
Opening Hockey Lines: Penguins -190, Flyers +160 (6)

Latest NHL Betting Trends

  • Philadelphia is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games on the road
  • Philadelphia is 4-1 SU in the last 5 games
  • The total went OVER in 9 of Philadelphia’s last 12 games
  • Pittsburgh is 2-4 ATS in the last 6 games when playing Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in the last 5 games
  • The total went OVER in 7 of Pittsburgh’s last 9 games

Season Series

The Penguins owned the season series against the Flyers, winning all four games. The teams last met on March 25, a 5-4 Penguins win in overtime. Bryan Rust put his stick down in front of the Philadelphia net just in time to redirect Sidney Crosby’s feed past Petr Mrazek 2:25 into overtime. The Flyers tied it on Sean Couturier’s goal with 43 seconds left in regulation, but the Penguins controlled the extra period. Rust gave the Penguins their first sweep of Philadelphia since 2007. Crosby also had a fabulous goal. Justin Schultz had three assists for the Penguins. Matt Murray finished with 41 saves.

Flyers starting goaltender Alex Lyon was pulled early in the second period after giving up three goals on 11 shots. Mrazek made 19 saves, but couldn’t get a glove on Rust’s winner.

The Pens finished second in the Metropolitan Division this season and the Flyers third.

Why Bet on Philadelphia’s Hockey Lines?

The Flyers were slumping there for a while but closed the season with four wins in their past five. They beat the Rangers 5-0 on Saturday.  Claude Giroux had a hat trick in the win. Giroux’s big afternoon got him a few milestones and clinched the Flyers a spot in the postseason. He joined Bobby Clarke (3), Mark Recchi (2), Rick MacLeish, Bill Barber & Eric Lindros as the only players to hit the single season century mark in points with the Flyers.

Giroux’s second goal of the night also made him surpass Rick MacLeish (100 in 1972-73) for the seventh most single season points in Flyers history. It’s was amazingly the first regular-season hat trick for Giroux in 738 games. He finished with season with 34 goals and 102 points in 82 games, almost double his point total from last season (58). Giroux was named the NHL’s third star for last week. He had five goals and two assists in three games.

The Flyers captain is a proven playoff performer, averaging 0.98 points per game during the postseason (62 points in 63 games), up from 0.91 during the regular season. That’s third among active players to skate in at least 60 playoff games, behind Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby (1.11) and Evgeni Malkin (1.05).

Brian Elliott stopped all 16 shots he faced vs. the Rangers. It surely was a big confidence booster for Elliott who allowed three soft goals in his first game back from injury against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. The 32-year-old goaltender finished the regular-season with a 23-11-7 record, a 2.66 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage.

Elliott was sidelined for nearly two months, so getting a couple starts under his belt before the playoffs was important. Getting his return out of the way on Thursday was particularly helpful. “It’s almost like opening night jitters again,” Elliott said of the game. “It’s always tough coming back. Always hard to replicate a game in practice. You do things, you’re out of breath more than in practice.”

Why Bet on Pittsburgh’s Hockey Lines?

Are the Penguins a safe bet in the NHL odds vs. Flyers in Game 1?

The Pens closed the season with back-to-back wins. It was 4-0 vs. Ottawa on Friday. Casey DeSmith turned aside all 35 shots he faced. The Penguins goaltender waited until the final day of his team’s season to pick up the first shutout of his NHL career. He’s won three of his last four outings. He’ll finish the regular season with a 6-4-1 record with a 2.40 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage this season. It will be Matt Murray in net here, though.

The Penguins are looking to become the first team to threepeat since the Islanders in the early 1980s. The Penguins expect to have as many as 13 players who have been a part of both championship teams on the ice in Game 1 at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday. They could dress as many as 16 players who were part of last season’s championship team.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia haven’t met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012, a wild, goal-filled, penalty-filled, suspension-filled six-game series won by the Flyers. The series featured 56 goals, 314 penalty minutes and three suspensions totaling six games.

A first-round matchup against Philadelphia could be good news for Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Crosby amassed two goals and nine points in four games against the Flyers this season. He has racked up 38 goals and 93 points in 63 career regular-season outings versus Philadelphia.

Derick Brassard (lower body) felt good after participating in Monday’s practice. The trade acquisition could be available to return to action for Game 1. He has missed a handful of games. Brassard skated between Phil Kessel and Conor Sheary during line rushes.

Expert NHL Betting Prediction

I would put my money on the Penguins. They look much more solid than the Flyers.