The Flyers have to win tonight, or they’ll exit the 2016 playoffs with a record of 0-4. It was an accomplishment for them just to get into the playoffs, but getting swept, regardless, is never a good feeling. Many people had the Capitals on upset watch, but they look like the same team that finished 1st overall in the NHL. In previous years, the Capitals got to the playoffs and the season went down the toilet. However, the Caps never had this kind of regular season, and beyond that, there is a sense of confidence and a different demeanor with this group now.
After Steve Mason let in that dribbler from center ice, there was a definite sense the series was over at that point. If there was any doubt, I think the Capitals drove a stake through the Flyers last game. They looked like they gave up. And that is not one word of exaggeration. The Flyers had three guys in the penalty box at the end of the game and the Capitals just picked their spots on a 5-on-3, burying the Flyers which resulted in a 6-1 final score.
The way I see it, the series is over, but the Flyers can extend this thing and go out with some pride. They fought hard to just make the playoffs, and surrendering and throwing in the towel would be an unfortunate ending for an otherwise successful season. Note that the Flyers were not pegged as a playoff team in October. They overcame some doubters to make it here. So, could they do it once more and play the spoiler role? Well, as I just said, I think the series is over. In any case, let’s see what kind of effort the Flyers muster up tonight against the Capitals.
Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers NHL Playoffs Pick
People are going to find the easy target and blame him. That person is Steve Mason. Before Flyer fans want to jump on his back, he isn’t the reason the Flyers are down 3-0 in this series. Yes, he allowed that goal, and he also should have caught that puck thrown his way in game 3, but look at all of the other Capital goals. Mason hasn’t been able to see the puck. The Capitals have done a fine job getting bodies in front of him, and it’s resulted in goals for Washington. The Flyers can’t sit back tonight, they need to play loose and just go out and have fun. They’re going to have to take some chances to get to Holtby.
I don’t think the Flyers are going to sit back, they’re going to force the issue and take chances offensively. However, this should lead to chances for the Capitals on the other hand. Mason’s confidence has to be shot, despite the hole they’re in not totally being his fault. The last 10 minutes of game 3 told me everything I needed to know. I like the Capitals to complete the sweep tonight, but a price of -170 is too steep for me.
Note that Holtby was limping off the ice yesterday at practice after a collision. We expect him to start but it’s something to keep an eye on. Also, defenseman Brooks Orpik will be sitting this one out due to an upper-body injury suffered in game 3. The Flyers should at least be able to make this one interesting, but the Capitals’ offense will be too much to overcome. The Caps have scored 12 goals in the first three games. The Flyers have only scored 2 goals. It’s been lopsided, but I think the Philadelphia offense finds something tonight. I’ll take the OVER 5.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-110)