After a few days off we are back tonight with our daily NHL picks. As the weather in the Northern United States and Canada starts to get very cold, we are looking to keep things hot as I am sure some winning picks are on everyone’s Christmas wish list this year. There are just 4 games on the NHL schedule tonight and we will be focussing on a matchup North of the border between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Ottawa Senators.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Ottawa Senators
My Pick – SENATORS (-135) @ 5Dimes.eu
Two teams that have been having a difficult time as of late clash tonight in Ottawa as the Senators will play host to a once again struggling Flyers team. Although the Flyers have won three of their last five games, they have dropped two of their last three, but that is not the most devastating news Philly has received lately. The Flyers learned that their big off-season acquisition Vinny Lecavalier will be out almost a month with a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. Philadelphia was hoping it was just back spasms, but an X-ray revealed the talented Centre will miss significant time and that certainly hurts the Flyers chances moving forward. Lecavalier is tied for the team lead in goals with nine and powerplay markers with five, and his injury leaves a gaping hole in the 2nd line Centre spot for this Flyers team. His goal scoring will certainly be missed as the Flyers average just 2.17 goals per game on the season, and the Flyers are just 2-5 without him on the season. If you take away the 3rd period offensive explosion in Detroit last Wednesday night, the Flyers have scored just 6 goals over their previous 4 games.
The Senators have dropped four of their past five games, however it has not been due to a lack of effort. The Senators fired 50 shots at James Reimer and the Leafs on Saturday night only to fall 4-3 in a shootout, and in their previous 4 games before Saturday their shot totals are: 34, 45, 32, and 39. The Sens have outshot their opponents in each of those five games, and have done so by at least nine shots in every game. The Sens simply need better goaltending and their chances improve if Robin Lehner gets the nod in goal tonight for the home team. Lehner boasts a .930 save percentage on the season compared to Craig Anderson’s .897, and his goals against average sits at 2.49 compared to Anderson’s terrible 3.38 mark. Despite being fairly hot since getting thumped 7-0 in Washington on Nov 1 with a 10-5-2 record since that game, the Flyers are just 2-5 in their last 7 road games and have lost 11 of their last 15 games in Ottawa, and if you dig a little deeper the Flyers are just 16-6-3 in their last 25 games in Ottawa. The Sens are in need of a victory, especially in front of their home crowd in order to turn their season around and begin a march toward the post season. Take the Senators tonight to bounce back and take down a Flyers team that seems to be trending in the wrong direction.