April 20, 2011

Free Hockey Picks: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres Game 4 Preview

The Buffalo Sabres were able to take the first game of this best of seven series in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, but NHL betting action has definitely taken a turn for the worst. The Philadelphia Flyers have won two in a row and really have a chance to seize this series with Game 4 in the Empire State on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia’s offense has really played some outstanding hockey over the course of the last two games after getting shut out in Game 1. The team has netted nine goals in these two outings. All but three of the skaters in the regular fold in all three games have found their way onto the stat sheet, led by three different players that have three points. Matt Carle has three assists out of defense, while both Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen have a goal and two assists. Daniel Briere has lit the lamp twice. Both Jeff Carter and Ville Leino have power play goals. The penalty minutes that this team has accounted for in this series have been a tad ridiculous. The Flyers are averaging 14.3 minutes per game in the sin bin. Timonen alone has taken in four minor penalties. However, the move of the series might have come when Head Coach Peter Laviolette elected to yank rookie Sergei Bobrovsky off of the roster, replacing him with Michael Leighton. Brian Boucher has gone into the net since the middle of Game 2, and he has a 1.69 GAA since.

Buffalo just doesn’t have the star power to be able to compete in this series unless Ryan Miller does the damage. Miller though, has been absolutely awful by any standards, let alone by his incredibly high standards set by being one of the, if not the top America goaltender in the game. It’s never good when you’ve played in three games and your GAA is 2.70, especially when you have a shutout to your credit. There are a ton of players that have at least two points in the three games, led by Marc-Andre Gragnani, who has four assists. Thomas Vanek is the only man on the team that has more than one goal, but he is certainly one of the best players on the ice. Aside from that though, there really aren’t enough players that are capable of standing in there with the big, bad Flyers. The key is going to be using a well rounded effort to get to Boucher, Bobrovsky, Leighton, or whomever else the Flyers choose to put in between the pipes.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick: The Flyers have won six of their last eight trips to the HSBC Arena over the course of the last two seasons, and though they are just 3-7 in their last 10 against teams in the Northeast Division, they are the right pick in this one. Buffalo is in a heck of a lot of trouble, and if Philly keeps up this offensive onslaught, there’s just nothing that Miller and the Sabres can do. Take the Flyers +105.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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