Philadelphia Flyers @ Buffalo Sabres Free NHL Pick 12/6/11
The Flyers absolutely know at this point that they are going to have their work cut out for them this year. The Pittsburgh Penguins are now fully healthy with Sidney Crosby back in the fold, and the New York Rangers look better than ever with Mike Richards looking to be the piece of the puzzle that really gets them over the hump offensively. That being said, in spite of the fact that this team was supposed to be dominating this year, Philly might ultimately be the third best team in its own division. The offense isn’t the problem, as this unit is scoring 3.5 goals per game and is clearly one of the most lethal all around units in hockey. The problem comes on the other side of the ice. The goaltending problems for this team were supposed to be figured out when Ilya Bryzgalov came to town, but at least at this point, the former Phoenix Coyotes’ net minder only has a 2.83 GAA and a .900 save percentage, numbers which just won’t cut it at this level.
The Sabres were once the cream of the crop this year in the Northeast Division, but the emergence of the Boston Bruins parlayed with some recent bad form has not only got them looking up at the top of the division, but it has them in a lot of trouble just to stick around in the playoff race this year as well. Teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Montreal Canadiens that are all behind Buffalo are eventually going to catch some fire and will probably challenge this team, and if it doesn’t step up to the plate and go on a bit of a run sooner than later, it will be in some big trouble and Head Coach Lindy Ruff might be looking for a new job. The only home game that this team has won in the last month was a 5-1 decision over the aforementioned Caps, but in that mix came some bad losses against the Coyotes, the New Jersey Devils, and the New York Islanders. Ryan Miller was back in net for his first game since the middle of November over the weekend, and he picked up the win in a 3-2 victory at the Nashville Predators.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Buffalo Sabres Pick: We love the fact that we are getting plus odds on the Flyers in this one. Philly is 8-3 in its last 11 visits to HSBC Arena, and it has one of the best road records in hockey at 9-3-1. Meanwhile, the Sabres are only 6-8-1 here at home, and we don’t expect that to get any better on Wednesday night.
Free Hockey Pick: Philadelphia Flyers
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