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Flyers vs. Blue Jackets prediction: Back Philly to snap slump in Columbus

Bet on goaltender Hart to rebound from recent poor outings, help end Flyers’ three-game skid

Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (right) skates with the puck while Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner chases him from behind during a game last season. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (right) skates with the puck while Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner chases him from behind during a game last season. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)Read moreTim Nwachukwu / Getty Images

When the Philadelphia Flyers traveled to Columbus on Thursday, they were fresh off back-to-back upset victories and carrying a 7-3-2 record on the season.

Five days and three losses later, Philadelphia takes a 7-6-2 record back to Ohio for yet another matchup against the Blue Jackets in their barn Tuesday night.

Can the Flyers get some quick revenge on Columbus and in the process avoid their first four-game slide of the season? Or will the Blue Jackets, who have lost six consecutive games to opponents not named the Flyers, take down Philly again?

Here’s our Flyers vs. Blue Jackets prediction in Philadelphia’s opener of a three-game, five-day road trip.

Note: Odds updated as of 10 a.m. ET on Nov. 15.

Flyers vs. Blue Jackets Prediction

  1. Flyers -115 (at Caesars Sportsbook)

Flyers vs. Blue Jackets Prediction: Analysis

Coming off a 5-1 blowout of St. Louis last Tuesday, the Flyers went to Ohio on Thursday seemingly in perfect position to win their third straight game overall and fourth straight in Columbus.

Not only was red-hot No. 1 goaltender Carter Hart in net, but the Blue Jackets had dropped five in a row overall, four in a row at home and scored a total of five goals in their previous four contests.

Sure enough, Columbus raced out to a 3-0 lead against Hart, then tacked on two empty-net goals in the final 140 seconds for a 5-2 victory. The Flyers came back home Saturday to face Ottawa, and Hart again surrendered three goals, with the Senators also knocking in an empty-netter en route to a 4-1 win.

Philadelphia then returned to home ice Sunday and got drubbed 5-1 by the Dallas Stars, falling to 0-4 this season when playing on back-to-back days (all behind backup goalie Felix Sandstrom).

Add it all up, and that’s three consecutive defeats (two at home) by the combined tally of 14-4.

Yes, Hart wasn’t his usual sharp self in the first two losses, and Sandstrom did nothing to stop the bleeding Sunday. However, the biggest issue with the Flyers continues to be their punchless offense.

Philadelphia has now scored two goals or fewer in six of the last seven games. And since a season-opening 5-2 home rout of New Jersey, the Flyers have potted more than three goals just twice in 14 outings.

First-year coach John Tortorella’s club ranks near the NHL basement in nearly every offensive category, including total goals (37, 31st); goals per game (2.47, 31st); power play percentage (16%, 25th); and shots per game (29.1, 28th).

So why recommend a bet on the Flyers on Tuesday? Because Columbus’ offense (2.71 goals per game, 25th) has been nearly as putrid as Philadelphia’s. And because the Blue Jackets’ goaltending is much worse.

Only the Anaheim Ducks are allowing more goals (4.47) and shots (39.1) per game than Columbus (4.36 and 36.1). The Blue Jackets (4-9-1) have given up 34 goals during their current 1-6 slump, and they’ve been outscored 23-13 in their last five home games (and that includes Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Flyers).

As for Hart, we expect him to be much stronger in net against Columbus this time around. Even with his subpar play in his past two starts, Hart still is second in the NHL among full-time starting goaltenders in save percentage (9.37), fifth in goals-against average (2.18) and tied for eighth in victories (eight).

With a tough one on deck Thursday at Boston — which leads the NHL with 28 points — the Flyers must win Tuesday or they’re likely looking at a five-game losing skid. We think they’ll get that win, so long as the dormant offense wakes up and slips at least three pucks past either of Columbus’ dreadful netminders.

Lay the short price with Philly at Caesars Sportsbook.

Flyers vs. Blue Jackets Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook):

  1. Moneyline: Flyers (-115) @ Blue Jackets (-105)

  2. Puck Line: Flyers +1.5 goals (-278) @ Blue Jackets -1.5 goals (+222)

  3. Total: 6 goals (Over -115/Under -105)

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