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Penguins, Flyers Kick Off Unprecedented 2021 Season

Sidney Crosby reacts after scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The 2021 NHL season kicks off with a divisional battle between rivals as the Pittsburgh Penguins head to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. The teams went 1-1-1 against each other in an abbreviated 2019-20 season and will face each other eight times this year, including in their first two games of the season.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers
  • Date/Time: January 13, 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center
  • TV Coverage: NBCS
  • Opening Odds: Penguins/Flyers -111 | O/U 6.5 (Line History)
  • Penguins vs Flyers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The game opened with EVEN odds for both teams at -111 but the line has moved in favor of the Flyers across the board. The line can now be found anywhere between -110 and -125. The total opened at 6.5 and has moved down to 6 across the board.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

The Pittsburgh Penguins enter the 2021 season with the usual high expectations. The Penguins had the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference last season but were eliminated in the qualifying round by Montreal.

It is the usual suspects at the helm for the Pens this year with Crosby, Malkin and Letang leading the way. Winger Jake Guentzel is also back and healthy after undergoing shoulder surgery last season. Guentzel had 20 goals and 43 points in 39 games last season before getting hurt and is a major bounce-back candidate after scoring a career-high 40 goals the season prior.

The major change for Pittsburgh this season is in net where 25-year-old Tristan Jarry will be the unquestioned starter after splitting time with Matt Murray last season. Jarry went 20-12-1 with a .921 save percentage and three shutouts last season. Casey DeSmith, 29, will serve as the backup.

Philadelphia News & Notes

The Philadelphia Flyers advanced to the second round of the playoffs in the fall before losing to the New York Islanders in seven games. The team finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, just ahead of Pittsburgh, and enters the year with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny will lead a team that did not make many significant changes to its roster in the shortened offseason.

Instead, the major additions to the Flyers lineup could come from within. Center Nolan Patrick, the 22-year-old who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, has not played since April 2, 2019, due to debilitating migraines and will be a big part of the everyday lineup this season.

In net, budding star Carter Hart will backstop the team after a breakout campaign in 2019-20. Hart went 24-13-3 last season with a .914 save percentage and 2.42 goals-against average.

Betting Pick: OVER 6

This early in the season, picking a winner between two equally matched rivals is anyone’s guess and the sportsbooks seem to agree based on the lines. However, we do know these teams are loaded with firepower and getting to seven goals does not seem unlikely at all.

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Shark Bites
  • Philadelphia is 1-6 SU in its last 7 home games vs Pittsburgh.
  • Pittsburgh is 4-11 SU in its last 15 games.
  • Philadelphia is 14-6 in its last 20 home games.