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How Will Pennsylvania Teams Do During the 2020-2021 NHL Season?

Posted on October 13, 2020 by Dean Hybl

Now that the elongated 2019-2020 NHL season has ended, attention is turning to the upcoming season. Originally expected to begin in December, it is now looking like the season will start in early January.

With longtime franchises the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, the state of Pennsylvania has long been an NHL hotbed, especially for PA NHL betting.

Carter Hart looks to be the goalie of the future for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Though their records were very similar in the pre-pandemic regular season, the two squads had very different results when the NHL returned for the postseason.

The Philadelphia Flyers were playing their best hockey of the season when the pandemic stopped the season. They posted nine straight victories before losing what would turn out to be their final game before the pandemic to the Boston Bruins.

Their 41-21-7 record and 89 points put them a single point behind the Washington Capitals and three points ahead of the Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.

Once hockey returned, they remained hot as they won all three of their tune-up games, including an impressive 4-1 victory over the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

In their first playoff series, the Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens four games to two.

Facing the New York Islanders in the second round, the Flyers dropped three of the first four games, with their only win coming in overtime. Just one loss from elimination, the Flyers won a pair of overtime games to send the series to a deciding seventh game. However, they seemed to have used all their energy to draw even as the Islanders easily won the seventh game 4-0.

The future would appear to be bright for the Flyers as they have a relatively young core of players.

Leading the way is 23-year old center Travis Konecny. Despite having his fourth regular season cut short by the pandemic, Konecny led the team with a career-high 61 points. He registered seven assists during the playoffs.

Other standouts include 28-year old Sean Couturier (58 regular season points), 31-year old Jakub Voracek (56 points), 33-year old Claude Giroux (53 points) and 27-year old Kevin Hayes (41 points). 22-year old goaltender Carter Hart posted a 24-13-1 record in the regular season and was 9-5 in the net during the playoffs.

While the Flyers were playing great hockey immediately before the pandemic break, the Pittsburgh Penguins were struggling as they went 3-8 in their final 11 games before the stoppage.

Once the season restarted, the Penguins were unable to jump-start their season. Because of their third place division finish, they had to play the Montreal Canadiens in the opening playoff round and were quickly eliminated as they dropped the series three games to one.

The Penguins have struggled since winning back-to-back Stanley Cup Trophies in 2015-206 and 2016-2017. Th veteran team has now finished third in their division in consecutive seasons and lost in the opening round of the playoffs.

Three of their top four scorers in the 2019-2020 season were 32-years old or older. They still have all-time great Sidney Crosby, but the one-time teenage star is now 33-years old and scored 47 points while playing in 41 games last season.

Evegni Malkin, who turned 34-years old during the playoffs, had 25 goals and 49 assists for 74 points in just 55 games during the regular season. 27-year old Bryan Rust led the team with 27 goals and scored 56 total points during the regular season.

During the 2019-2020 regular season the Penguins had a pair of young goaltenders splitting time. Matt Murray (26-years old) was 20-11-5 while allowing 2.87 goals per game. 25-year old Tristan Jarry was 20-12-1 while allowing 2.43 goals per game.

Regardless of when the season ultimately starts, you can expect the Flyers and Penguins to again be battling against each other and the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

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