We netted a big victory last night with the Lightning over the Panthers bringing our total to 23-12 with the featured picks on the year. For tonight, we’ll look to another intra-division match-up this time in the Atlantic. The struggling and desperate Philadelphia Flyers will head to New Jersey to do battle with the Martin Brodeur-less Devils.
Philadelphia Flyers (+105) @ New Jersey Devils (-125)
It’s safe to assume the Flyers haven’t achieved the start they had hoped for. On paper, this remains one of the most impressive squads in the NHL. Their depth at forward is amazing, and when you consider the money they spend on their defense and goaltending, you’d think they’d be better in those areas. Unfortunately for Philly, they’ve drastically underachieved thus far, and as a result their playoff hopes are severely in limbo.
They enter this pivotal stretch of games losers of three of their past four contests, and the players know this home-and-home series against the Devils could dictate their playoff future. Many players have spoken out in the lead-up to these games stating that these games will dictate their post-season aspirations, and look for the Flyers to finally get going now that their backs are against the wall.
Philly is too loaded offensively, and are now healthy on the back-end. Andrej Meszaros recently returned from injury and should help stabilize a shaky defense corps. Ilya Bryzgalov has been much better this season opposed to last, and is expected to continue his stellar play in 2013. Bryzgalov was one of the best goalies in the league when in Phoenix, and seems like he’s on track to re-gain that form down the stretch.
With the Devils, they’re currently mired in an epic slump. Losing Martin Brodeur to injury has been a complete disaster for New Jersey, and back-up Johan Hedberg simply hasn’t been good in relief. The Devils have lost seven of their last nine contests, and an injury to d-man Henrik Tallinder has also made it more difficult on this struggling team.
Look for these next two games to really set the tone for the remainder of the Flyers’ season. Here is where we’ll see these teams separate from another, as the Flyers move up the rankings, while New Jersey should falter. Philadelphia is simply too deep, and too talented to miss the post-season, and look for the Flyers to begin stringing some victories together. This is a big two-game stretch for both teams, but look for Philly to emerge victorious Wednesday evening.
PICK = Philadelphia (+105)
Although it’s not a busy slate of games on the NHL board this Wednesday evening, there remains some additional value on the card.
Bonus Pick #1: Detroit (-110) The Red Wings have been reeling of late and have had trouble enduring injuries, though they’re too good a team to keep floundering. The Flames are hosting their first game after a lengthy road-trip, and expect a hungry Detroit team to start stringing victories together. Calgary will be without key forward Curtis Glencross, and expect his absence to be a big one for the Flames. Detroit precariously sits in a playoff position entering tonight’s slate of games, and will need a victory to get rid of the bad taste in their mouths after dropping two straight to Columbus.