Tampa Bay Lightning @ Philadelphia Flyers Free NHL Pick 3/26/12
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The Lightning are probably just reduced to playing the role of spoilers for the rest of the year. They are nine points out of the playoffs with just eight games to play, and though the possibility is at least still here, it is going to take a heck of a run against some of the best teams in the league to get the job done. That being said, this is a team that still has a very dangerous offense that cannot be ignored. Steven Stamkos has 52 goals and 35 assists on the season, while Martin St. Louis, the longtime member of the Bolts, has 23 goals and 43 assists. Teddy Purcell just reached the 20-goal plateau as well, and when he is back in the fold, Vincent Lecavalier is a 20-goal scorer as well. The problem comes in net, where Dwayne Roloson has turned into a joke and Mathieu Garon hasn’t been all that much better. These two are the reason why Tampa Bay, a team that has struggled with its goaltending for years and years, rank dead last in the league in goals allowed at 3.4 per game.
A win on Monday might put the Flyers in the playoffs. More importantly though, they are hoping to have a shot at catching the New York Rangers atop the Atlantic Division. Philly knows that, barring a total collapse, it should finish no worse than the No. 5 seed, though there is a big difference between being the No. 1 like the Rangers, the No. 4 like the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the No. 5 that it is sitting in at the moment. Either way, it really seems as though these teams are going to have to go through each other to get to the Stanley Cup Finals, and with no other really good looking contenders out there, one of these three is likely to get the job done. A 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens improved the Flyers to 21-11-5 on their home ice. All things considered though, that margin really isn’t all that great. There is something about the way that Ilya Bryzgalov plays at home that is concerning to us, as he hasn’t always been able to put as strong of a foot forward in the City of Brotherly Love as he has on the road, where the Flyers are 23-12-3 on the campaign.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Philadelphia Flyers Pick: This is a dangerous spot for the Flyers. Tampa Bay is going to have to play like its season depends on just this game (and in truth, it really might!). Don’t be shocked if, at a huge, huge price, the Lightning figure out how to come on the road and get out of Philadelphia with a big time two points to keep their season alive.
Free Hockey Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning
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