The Bruins are short favorites over the Flyers in Sunday’s NHL action. Photo by @topShelfBoss (Twitter)
- Bruins have 48-goal scorer David Pastrnak, while the Flyers boast scoring depth
- Bruins are NHL’s No. 1 defensive team. Flyers are seventh in goals and goals-against
- Read on for our full game preview and best for Sunday’s Flyers vs Bruins Eastern Conference matchup
The Boston Bruins are the team that the Philadelphia Flyers aspire to become. The Flyers have the most to prove when the two teams collide Sunday at 3:00 pm EST, on NBC in an NHL playoff game to determine Eastern Conference seeding.
The Bruins won the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s No. 1 regular-season team in 2019-20 and reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2018-19. They have been a contender for the better part of a decade, dating to 2011 when they won the Stanley Cup. Their consistency is the envy of the league
Meanwhile, the Flyers were surprisingly impressive this season, finishing with the NHL’s sixth-best record of 41-21-7. Top 10 scoring team. Effective defensive team. Spunky. The Flyers showed plenty this season. But the franchise hasn’t won a playoff series since 2012. A long postseason run would add a layer of credibility to their recent success.
Here are factors that matter in this matchup and the Flyers vs Bruins odds:
Flyers vs Bruins Odds
|Team||Puckline||Total||Moneyline Odds at DraftKings|
|Philadelphia Flyers||+1.5 (-245)||O 5.5 (+107)||+112|
|Boston Bruins||-1.5 (+200)||U 5.5 (-130)||-130|
Odds taken July 30
What Happened in March
On March 10, the night before NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman hit the pause button because of the pandemic, goalie Tuukka Rask made 36 saves to give the Bruins a 2-0 win against the Flyers.
Coming into that game, the Flyers had won nine games in a row while outscoring opponents 39-17. The Flyers had scored three or more goals for 14 consecutive games before the Bruins blanked them. The Bruins may have been making a statement with that March to triumph.
Earlier, the Flyers beat the Bruins 3-2 in a shootout in November and 6-5 in a shootout in January.
2020 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
Pastrnak is Back for Bruins
Boston management was miffed that David Pastrnak broke his initial 14-day quarantine, near the end of it, to skate with other players. Even though he wasn’t ill, Pastrnak was sentenced to another 14-day quarantine.
But his quarantine replay is over, and he is out of the doghouse and in the Toronto bubble preparing to play against the Flyers.
That’s important to the Bruins because Pastrnak is the dynamic, game-breaking scoring presence the Flyers don’t have. The Flyers have quality scorers and scoring depth. They boast nine players who scored 11 or more goals and four who netted 20 or more. But they don’t have anyone like Pastrnak who netted 48 this season.
The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak may be the league’s most complete line. Multi-talented Marchand is the fire-breather, Bergeron is the best all-around player and Pastrnak has the magic.
As expected last week, Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin are the Hart Trophy finalists and David Pastrnak got pretty much hosed in the voting process for NHL MVP. Guess this is his year to get on people’s award radar https://t.co/FaTPPdzwOT
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) July 21, 2020
The Gostisbehere Factor
When Shayne Gostisbehere joined the Flyers, he looked like he would blossom into an impact defenseman. He was a flashy puck-mover. But he hasn’t developed the way the Flyers hoped he would.
Gostisbehere won’t deny this was a miserable year for him. He was in and out of the lineup, heard trade rumors and eventually had to have knee surgery. He struggled all season.
But now he says he’s feeling stronger and more confident in his body. Let’s not forget that in 2017-18, Gostisbehere posted 65 points in 78 games. If he can be that player again, he could be a major help for the Flyers in the playoffs.
Flyers Shayne Gostisbehere may be on the brink of a resurgence “This is the healthiest I’ve felt in a couple of years” #Flyershttps://t.co/NvJogYnZVH
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) July 29, 2020
Flyers Also Have It All
What makes the Bruins the league’s most consistent team is that they are efficient in all aspects of the game. They are the NHL’s No. 1 defensive team (2.39 goals per game), the No. 2 power-play team (25.2%) and No. 3 penalty-killing team (84.3%). They have a beastly presence on the blue line in 6-foot-7 Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask has enjoyed a Vezina Trophy-caliber season.
But the Flyers can measure up to those factors. They rank seventh in scoring (3.29 per game) and seventh in goals- against (2.77). Their power-play is at 20.8%. Philadelphia defenseman Ivan Provorov is a difference-maker. At 21, Carter Hart has to be considered one of the NHL’s best young goalies.
Carter Hart’s Road Woes Will be Put to the Test in Playoff Bubble @DanTheFlyeraFan https://t.co/Wu5BErBEBP
— Brotherly Puck (@BrotherlyPuck) July 30, 2020
It is trendy to pick the impressive Flyers in this contest but stick with the proven winner in Boston. The Bruins have the equivalent of a master’s degree in winning important games.
Pick: Bruins (-130)
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, the World Cup, NCAA Basketball Final Four and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020 and received major awards for his work in 2013 and 2014.