Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that the two NHL teams from Pennsylvania are doing pretty well right now. I’m of course selling them short as they’ve actually combined to win 17 straight games. The Penguins’ overtime win over the Bruins in their last game pushed their streak to seven while the Flyers’ triumph against the Avalanche stretched their run to a round 10 wins in a row.
For Philadelphia, this is the longest streak they’ve had since 1985 when the second-generation Broad Street Bullies won 13 games in a row after the tragic loss of their Vezina-winning goaltender Pelle Lindbergh. That team went on to lead the Patrick Division in points but was ousted from the playoffs in the first round.
Those 13 wins in a row are the most a Flyers team has ever achieved and considering the schedule facing the current rendition of the team and how they’re winning, that record may stand up for a while longer. To break it, Philly will have to beat the Stars, Predators, Capitals and Devils. While all of those teams are underachieving, the odds that the boys from the City of Brotherly Love win four more in a row are slim.
For reference, the longest winning streak in Pennsylvania pro sports history is 15. The Steelers and the Penguins both hold that record with the Pens winning out the month of March in 2013 and the '04 Steelers winning 14 consecutive regular season games and then one playoff game.
During their current streak, the Flyers have needed extra time on four occasions, have gone to a shootout once and have had six of their 10 wins decided by one goal. By no means is Philly winning convincingly and with two of their next four games coming on the road, I can see this streak ending very soon.
Their next game in Dallas will offer a massive challenge as the Stars are one of maybe three or four teams that can score with the Flyers and Philly still wears the crown for allowing the most goals in the NHL. Dallas scored six on a stingy Ducks team on Tuesday so it’s looking like the goal-scoring gears are starting to turn in Big D.
The value for the Flyers will keep getting inflated if they keep winning and that’s good for bettors. Their winning streak makes people think they will keep on winning or that they have a better chance of winning because of “momentum.” I don’t buy into that and will be fading the Philly cheesesteak eaters if that’s what the matchup information tells me to do.
The Penguins, on the other hand, have been blowing teams out of the water and I’m not sure they're ever going to lose again. Well, that confirms my recency bias. Still, one more win will match the longest run by this team since Mike Sullivan took over as the bench boss in Pittsburgh last December and there's no telling how many they can win in a row.
I wrote yesterday about how this team is giving flightless penguins a bad name because Pittsburgh is frigging soaring right now. The Pens are filling the net up with goals and are backing it up by playing solid defense and getting great performances from their goaltender tandem of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury.
I don’t actually think this team will never lose again but I am, however, starting to believe the Pens are by far the best team in the NHL and that Sidney Crosby is still the best skater in hockey. Keep backing the Penguins and keep riding the OVER as it’s now hit in a miraculous 12 straight games.
Putting it into a betting context: If you'd back these teams in every game during their streak, the Flyers moneyline would have earned you a profit of $888 and the Penguins puckline would have earned you a profit of $506 – not too bad, eh?
Unfortunately, these teams don’t have another meeting until February 25 when they face off at Heinz Field in the NHL’s Stadium Series. I was hoping they’d have a game while they were both on these crazy streaks but who knows, maybe they’ll both win every game until then.
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