Stanley Cup final hangover? The Philadelphia
Flyers are going through nothing of the sort. In fact, it looks the Flyers
might be the best team – and one of the sharpest betting odds wagers – in the
Philadelphia is a sturdy 8-1-1 over its last
10 games to sit in first place in the Eastern Conference, and even though it
fell 3-0 at Montreal on Tuesday night, I wouldn’t put much stock in the loss.
The Flyers were playing the second game of a
back-to-back and their third game in four nights when they faced the Canadiens,
and they still managed to pepper Carey Price with 41 shots.
Philly is getting it done on both ends of the
ice, as evidenced by its NHL-leading +22 goal differential. Sergei Bobrovsky
(11-3-1, 2.07 GAA, .932 SVP) has emerged as the real deal in goal in his rookie
season, while Claude Giroux (10 goals, 21 points) leads the Flyers in scoring.
Philadelphia is a team built for the
playoffs, but it also has the horses to do well during the regular season. The
Flyers are as deep as any team in the league up front, and have shored up the
back end behind Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen.
Look for Philly to keep rolling when it hosts
Tampa Bay on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center, while on Saturday night, the
Flyers take on the Capitals in Washington.
Philadelphia gets its rematch with Montreal
on Monday back at home, but don’t sleep on the Habs.
Montreal is right there with Philly near the
top of the East, and its solid defensive play has it cashing for ‘under’
bettors. Second in the league in goals against (2.0 GPG) and first on the
penalty kill (89.7%), the Canadiens are 4-13-1 O/U this season, including a
perfect 0-8 O/U away from the Bell Centre.
Yes, Andrei Markov is out indefinitely after
re-injuring his surgically repaired knee, but Montreal has proven it can cash
without its best player. The Habs are 8-2-1 without Markov this season, and are
the hottest moneyline bet in the NHL.
With Nashville coming to town on Thursday
night, Montreal had won four straight games, outscoring its opponents 15-3
during the stretch.
Overall, the Canadiens have won seven of
their last 10, during which they played ‘under’ the number eight times.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Montreal takes
on stumbling Toronto on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Over in the Western Conference, the Vancouver
Canucks are heating up after a slow start. The Canucks began the season 2-5
against the moneyline, but then went on an 8-1 tear before falling in overtime
at Buffalo on Monday night.
Vancouver has been particularly profitable at
Rogers Arena this season, going 6-0-1 there with defending Stanley Cup champion
Chicago coming in on Saturday night. The game is the first of a back-to-back at
home for the Canucks, who entertain the Coyotes on Sunday night.
Going forward, Vancouver backers have to be
pleased the team added some depth around the Sedin twins. The Canucks have a
legitimate third line this season in Manny Malhotra, Raffi Torres, and Jannik
Hansen, and that should serve them well as the year progresses.
The St. Louis Blues are coming back to down
to earth after being the talk of the league to start the season. St. Louis had
a seven-game win streak going from October 22-November 7, but it followed up
the run with four losses in a row – including three on the road.
It was only a matter of time before the
Blues’ lack of offensive punch caught up to them. St. Louis ranks 26th in
scoring (2.4 GPG) and 25th on the power play (12.5%), and is led by Matt
D’Agostini’s six markers.
Fade – or bet – the Blues on Friday when they
meet Ottawa on Friday night at the Scottrade Center, or on Saturday night when
they host New Jersey.
In addition to the aforementioned contests,
one matchup of note this weekend involves the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles
Kings on Saturday night at TD Garden.
Sunday’s schedule is headlined by a game at
Joe Louis Arena between the Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames.