The window continues to get smaller and smaller for teams hoping to snatch a spot for the playoffs. In one of the most crucial games of the hunt, the Red Wings looked calm, cool, and collected last night against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Wings and Flyers are neck-and-neck in the race, heading for the final turn. The Red Wings are 2 points ahead of the Flyers, with both on the schedule again tonight. The Bruins are sitting right behind Philadelphia with 91 points each. However, the tiebreaker goes to the Flyers. The Red Wings will travel to Boston tonight, for another critical game which has mega implications.
Conversely, the Flyers welcome the Leafs, who are in total tank mode, and may have wrapped up last place in the league with a loss last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Garrett Sparks looked shaky yet again, as the Leafs went on to lose the match by a score of 5-1.
No rest for the Leafs or Flyers tonight. The Flyers need to take advantage of what amounts to playing an AHL team tonight. The Leafs have emptied out the minors and are getting a good look at what they have to work with this offseason. The last two months have essentially been a job interview in Toronto. At the end of the day, there were about zero expectations placed on the Leafs this season.
They fought hard on many nights, but it wasn’t enough to garner a successful season. If the Leafs win the draft lottery, perhaps we can say their efforts went to something worthwhile. Jonathan Bernier is expected to start for the Leafs tonight after Sparks got lit up last night, and Steve Mason is the expected starter for the Flyers. Let’s head out to Philadelphia, as we search for another winning pick.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Philadelphia Flyers NHL Pick
This is pretty well an exhibition game for the Leafs tonight. Just like in the exhibition, the Leafs will get another good look at who is playing hard and wants to be around for the regular season in October. The Flyers are the ones feeling a little nervous about tonight. A loss against the Leafs would be such a huge blow to the Flyers hopes of reaching the playoffs. Good teams do not lose in this spot. We’ll see if the Flyers are a good team. Nevertheless, the Flyers were not expected to be contending for the playoffs, so in this sense, they’ve already exceeded expectations.
The Leafs have lost four straight games and 1-6 in their last seven efforts. An effort which has bolstered their quest for the number 1 pick in the draft. Throughout the last four games, the Leafs have averaged just 1.75 goals. Likewise, things have been treacherous for Toronto defensively as well, allowing 4 goals per game. The Flyers have dropped two straight games, after they won three in a row. The Leafs don’t want to be here tonight, while the Flyers need to come out and play some of their best hockey of the year. I don’t like betting on due factors. I feel the Flyers are going to come out with a determined effort tonight against a significantly inferior team who have given up already. The Marlies are a punching bag again tonight, as the Flyers beef up their playoff chances with a 2 or 3 goal win against Toronto.
PICK: FLYERS -1.5 (+130)