Philadelphia Flyers @ Dallas Stars Free NHL Pick 12/21/11
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The Flyers might be four points up in the Atlantic Division and challenging for the best record in hockey, but they are definitely going to have some problems as this season progresses. The 94 goals that this team has allowed this year is pathetic, and it was supposed to be a problem that was fixed when Ilya Bryzgalov came to town. However, what we might be finding out is that it isn’t the goaltender, but the defense that has really given this team fits over the past few years. This team is allowing far too many good opportunities at net, and now that it has lost Chris Pronger to a concussion for the season, there are definitely some issues that need to be resolved in a hurry. The good news is that, at least for the time being, the offense has been out of this world. Philadelphia is ranked No. 1 in hockey in offense at 3.5 goals per game, and it has just a slew of big time scorers. Even with Claude Giroux currently on IR, he is still leading the team with 39 points. However, there are six others that have at least 20 points, including the ageless wonder, Jaromir Jagr, who has 10 goals and 17 assists.
Dallas has more or less slipped into being a rather mediocre team this year, but thanks to its strong start to the season and the fact that the rest of the Pacific Division has really underachieved this year, it is still hanging onto the top spot in the division as we head towards the holidays. This is a rough stretch of three games right around the holidays though, as contending with the Flyers, Nashville Predators, and St. Louis Blues is certainly not easy, especially knowing that there is really only one gimme game against the Columbus Blue Jackets coming before the visit on New Year’s Eve from the Stanley Cup champs. Keep a very close eye on Jamie Benn. Benn hasn’t been one of the premier players on this team over the course of his first two seasons, but he has been a consistent sharpshooter, putting together 52 goals in basically two full years on the ice. He can be the difference maker in this one, and with a three game point streak going, he really needs to extend that to four for the Stars to win this game.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Dallas Stars Pick: Dallas knows that this is a pivotal stretch of very tough games, and though it would love to get off on the right foot, so would the Flyers with their road trip that is just getting started. Though its defense could struggle once again, Philly has enough offense to get the job done in Big D.
Free Hockey Pick: Philadelphia Flyers
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