Prudential Center

The Prudential Center in Newark prepares for a battle as the Philadelphia Flyers fly in to face off against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, December 19th. Both teams have their sights set on securing valuable points in the Metropolitan Division, but only one can claim the upper hand in this heated rivalry. With puck drop inching closer, let’s dissect the matchup and predict the winning side of the puck line.

Flyers Soaring on Confidence:

Philadelphia comes into this clash riding a wave of momentum. They’ve snagged wins in two straight games, including a shutout against the Detroit Red Wings, showcasing their defensive prowess. On the season, they boast a .588 win percentage, good for 5th place in the East. Their offense isn’t shabby either, averaging 2.9 goals per game.

Flyers fans can attribute their recent success to several factors. The emergence of Samuel Ersson as a reliable goaltender (7-3-2, 2.57 GAA) has been a revelation. The defense, with Sean Couturier anchoring the center ice, has tightened up considerably, allowing just 3.55 goals per game (5th in the East). Additionally, Tyson Foerster’s hot hand against Metro Division opponents (goals in 3 straight) adds an unpredictable spark to the offense.

However, a question mark hangs over the starting goalie position. Carter Hart, who missed the last two games due to illness, could return for this game. While Hart holds a slight edge in career stats, Ersson’s recent form might sway Coach Tortorella’s decision. Regardless of who gets the nod, the Flyers’ defensive tenacity should remain the cornerstone of their strategy.

Devils Battling Inconsistency:

The Devils’ season has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows. They’ve strung together impressive stretches like their recent 7-3-0 run, only to stumble spectacularly in games like the 5-1 home loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Their inconsistent defense, ranked 28th in the league, allows a hefty 3.55 goals per game, often leaving their offense (3.48 goals per game) with an uphill battle.

Despite the defensive woes, the Devils boast a potent offensive arsenal. Jack Hughes leads the charge with 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists), while Jesper Bratt and Tyler Toffoli contribute valuable firepower. The young Luke Hughes, tied for the team lead in points among defensemen with 16, adds an unpredictable element to their attacks.

However, the Devils’ recent defensive meltdown against the Ducks raises concerns. Their inability to contain Anaheim’s offense casts a shadow over their potential against the Flyers’ stout defense. Additionally, the absence of Dougie Hamilton on IR leaves a sizeable gap in their defensive leadership.

Puck Line Predicament:

So, where does this leave us in terms of the puck line? The Flyers’ defensive stability and recent form make them tempting underdogs on the +1.5 puck line. Ersson’s hot streak or Hart’s experience, combined with Couturier’s defensive influence, could be enough to keep the Devils’ potent offense at bay.

However, the Devils’ offensive firepower and home-ice advantage shouldn’t be underestimated. If they can tighten up their defense and rediscover their recent scoring prowess, they have the potential to overwhelm the Flyers.

Ultimately, the puck line decision hinges on your risk appetite. If you favor cautious optimism, the Flyers +1.5 offers a chance for higher payout. For those who believe in the Devils’ offensive firestorm, the -1.5 line could reap rewards.

Beyond the Puck Line:

Regardless of your puck line pick, this showdown promises to be a nail-biter.  Expect a tight game with plenty of scoring opportunities, potentially decided by a late-game hero or a crucial defensive stop.

PICK: Take the Flyers on the Puck Line +1.5 WINNER