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Can Young Devils Upset Floundering Flyers Monday?

Both Clubs Looking to End Season on High Note

The New Jersey Devils (19-29-7) and Philadelphia Flyers (24-23-8) will meet for the final game of the season Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Neither team made it to the playoffs this season; the Flyers missing was particularly surprising after they claimed the top spot in the playoff bubble in 2020.

Instead, both clubs will hope to end the campaign building towards next season with a win. Philadelphia is the online sportsbook favorite at -150 while the road Devils are +130. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils makes a save in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers
Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

Devils Betting Preview

New Jersey’s young forward group showed significant progress this season, but it was not enough to get back to the playoffs for the second time since the 2011-12 season. In Thursday night’s contest, a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders, the oldest forward in the lineup was 24-year-old Pavel Zacha.

While the expanded roles and extra ice time can be great for player development, having some veteran leadership for the team would help too. Andreas Johnsson returned to the lineup for Saturday’s game, a 5-1 loss to the Islanders, and the frustration was obvious.

“Not a good game at all,” Johnsson said. “I don’t feel like we skated for each other and got open for each other. They did a good job, but we didn’t answer at all.”

With a similar lineup Monday, New Jersey needs some of their young guns to step up and deliver a win.

Center Yegor Sharangovich has flown under the radar as a rookie this season. He is tied for second among rookies in goals (16) and ranks fourth in points with 29. Winger Janne Kuokkanen (seven goals, 17 assists) and defenseman Ty Smith (two goals, 21 assists) have been solid roster additions as well.

Mackenzie Blackwood will likely start in net in the season finale. In 2021, Blackwood has a 14-17-4 record, a 3.04 GAA, a .902 save percentage, and a shutout. He missed time early in the season after testing positive for COVID-19. A full offseason to recover should lead to more positive numbers next season.

On the injury front, P.K. Subban will miss Monday’s game while recovering from COVID-19. Smith (upper body) will join Subban on the injured list, as will center Mikhail Maltsev.

Flyers Betting Preview

The Flyers’ belly-up season was the result of poor goaltending play and shoddy defense, the latter of which has been Philadelphia’s calling card in recent years. A normally sound defensive group, the Flyers allowed a league-worst 3.55 goals per game.

Blue-chip prospect goaltender Carter Hart struggled through much of the season but is out with a lower-body injury. Among 97 goaltenders to appear in an NHL game this season, Hart had a league-worst -17.09 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAA) when the injury occurred. Making matters worse, Brian Elliott has the second-worst GSAA at -13.18.

Elliott is confirmed as the starter Monday. This season, he has a 14-9-2 record, a 3.10 GAA, a .888 save percentage, and two shutouts. While the Devils struggle to generate offense, scoring the fifth-fewest goals per game at 2.65, Elliott will still need to be sharp to end the season with a win.

Philadelphia will be without defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere who is serving a two-game suspension for boarding. Centers Tanner Laczynski (hip) and Morgan Frost (shoulder surgery) will also miss Monday’s contest.

On to the Pick

Coming off a disappointing 5-1 loss on Saturday, the Devils will have plenty of motivation against the slumping Flyers, who are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. Bet online on a scrappy New Jersey team to upset Philadelphia Monday night and spoil the Flyers’ finale.

BETTING PICK: New Jersey Devils +130

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