NHL Pick: Flyers vs. Blackhawks
Date/Time: December 11th, 8:00 p.m. ET
Television: NBC Sports Network
NHL Betting Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook
Moneyline: Chicago -220
The heavily favored Chicago Blackhawks are back on the ice on Wednesday night, and they’ll take on the Philadelphia Flyers in what could prove to be a dangerous game at the United Center.
The Flyers are still dealing with some major offensive woes, though it was their goaltending that let them down on Monday night against the Ottawa Senators, not their offense. They scored four goals and lost in that game, which did mark the fourth time in their last 10 games which they scored at least four goals. The problem? They also have five games with two goals or fewer scored, and that leaves G Steve Mason in a world of hurt and with no margin for error. If you’re searching for players with more than 20 points this year on the Flyers, you aren’t going to find any. RW Claude Giroux has 20 points, but that’s about it. No one else has more than 15 points this year. Mason has really been the man that has turned this season around, as he has 10 wins and a 2.33 GAA to show for his work on the campaign, giving the City of Brotherly Love its first consistent goalie in quite some time.
There are a few things about this game that are definitely dangerous for Chicago. For one, it’s the second game in a back to back. The team won last night on the road against the Dallas Stars 6-2, its second straight win by that exact final score. It also becomes awfully dangerous that both G Corey Crawford and G Nikolai Khabibulin are out of the fold for at least the next couple of weeks, and we don’t expect either back by Christmas. It very well could be G Kent Simpson tonight who makes his NHL debut, as he was called up from the AHL to take the place on Crawford on the roster. We have seen enough out of G Antti Raanta to know that he can play at this level, but we haven’t seen him play on back to back nights after traveling yet either. This is an odd situation to be in, and it will be interesting to see how it is handled. We have a feeling that it will be up to Simpson tonight. Fortunately, he has the best offense in the NHL in front of him, as the Blackhawks are averaging 3.6 goals per game this year, easily the best mark in the league.
Still, this remains a dangerous game when push comes to shove. Philly has played much better hockey in the last two months than it did in October, and that’s why it is back in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. Though we do think that the Blackhawks win this game a lot more often than they don’t, giving up +195 on a team like this in a situation like this is too good to pass on.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Chicago Blackhawks Pick: Philadelphia Flyers +195