NHL Pick: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Date/Time: December 17th, 7:30 p.m. ET
Television: NBC Sports Network
NHL Betting Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook
Moneyline: Philadelphia -120
The Philadelphia Flyers were only able to take a point in their most recent game on Sunday against the Washington Capitals. Now, the two teams get together once again, this time in the City of Brotherly Love, where the Caps are hoping to finish off a two-game mini-series sweep.
Washington’s offense has been awfully good of late, and the argument could be made that RW Alexander Ovechkin is the only reason for it. The Rocket Richard Trophy candidate has 28 goals already on the season, including scoring two in this game when these two teams met on Sunday. Ovie also had four goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the week. Washington has played three straight shootout games, winning two of the three, and it has four wins in its last five games and six in its last eight. C Mikhail Grabovski has the flu, which caused him to miss out on the last game against Philly, and he is up in the air for this one as well. G Philipp Grubauer got the win on Sunday, but we have to think that it is going to be back to G Braden Holtby on Tuesday. Holtby was last seen giving up three goals on eight shots against the Bolts last week, and he hasn’t been in the crease since. Still, for the season, he has a 13-9-1 record and a .920 save percentage, though a 2.82 GAA is far from what anyone would expect out of a winning net minder.
The Flyers have to be kicking themselves for blowing a three-goal lead in the third period on Sunday. It’s going to be a tough blow to get back up from, but the last time they had to come back from a situation like that, they beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 a night after getting blasted 7-2 by the Chicago Blackhawks. G Steve Mason has allowed four goals in three of his last four starts, and though his raw numbers are good with a 2.35 GAA and a .923 save percentage, he hasn’t been in fine form at all. With C Vincent Lecavalier still on the shelf injured, the rest of this offense just isn’t all that stellar, and it isn’t going to be able to keep up in games which it is trailing all that often. The club is averaging just 2.3 goals per game this season, and that isn’t going to cut it, even with as good as Mason had been prior to this last week and a half or so in the pipes.
There’s good news for the Flyers, though. They haven’t been in the best form, but they have also been underdogs in eight straight games. They have a chance in this one to make a stand in front of their hometown crowd, and they were the better team for most of their game against Washington two nights ago. They’ll get the job done on Tuesday and grab two crucial points, knowing that there are six teams in the Eastern Conference with either 32 or 33 points coming into play on Monday.
Washington Capitals @ Philadelphia Flyers Pick: Philadelphia Flyers -120