Welcome to the NHL Daily Picks, where CBSSports.com hockey writers Chris Peters and Adam Gretz share their predictions for select games every day.
Florida Panthers at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network
The Dave Hakstol era is not off to a great start in Philadelphia.
After dropping their season opener in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flyers ended their swing through Florida with a dreadful 7-1 loss to the Panthers on Saturday night that was immediately followed by a player’s only meeting. Two games into the season. Two games into the tenure of their new coach. That has to be some kind of record.
The good news for the Flyers is after that performance there is pretty much no place to go but up, and they make their home debut on Monday night against the same Panthers team that started to dismantle them as soon as the puck was dropped on Saturday night. Florida scored four goals in the first six minutes and chased starting goalie Steve Mason after his brutal turnover led to an easy goal for Jussi Jokinen. And it never stopped with Michal Neuvirth in as the ageless Jaromir Jagr potted his first two goals of the season and the Flyers were never able to make it a close game.
It was a strong showing for a Panthers team that has a chance to take a big step forward this season with its impressive collection of young talent and cast of supporting veterans. And we know the Flyers are going to have some struggles this season defensively (that defense might be one of the worst in the NHL, and if Mason isn’t on top of his game you’re going to see more than a couple of games like Saturday), but they’re not going to be that bad every night, and they should still have a good enough offense to win their share of games.
The Flyers will be without Mason on Monday after the team announced that he will not be available for the game because of a “personal family matter” which means that Neuvirth will end up getting the start. But even with their backup in net a return home might be just what the Flyers need to get back on track early this season. Pick: Flyers 4, Panthers 3
The rest of Monday’s Picks
Lightning 4, Bruins 2
The Philadelphia Flyers are looking for the first win of the Dave Hakstol era. (USATSI)
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