Hockey Betting Pick: New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers Game 1
Of all of the series in NHL betting action in the second round of the playoffs, the one that is going to be the bloodiest, as the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers start things off on Sunday with Game 1 of their series on April 29th.
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New Jersey probably was the better team every step of the way against the Florida Panthers in the first round of the playoffs, but the team certainly had to scrap and claw just to survive a brutal seven-game series that was decided in double overtime. In the end, it wasn’t the fact that the skaters on the ice were all that much better, but Martin Brodeur was able to outplay both Scott Clemmensen and Jose Theodore, especially in clutch moments when those games in that series were tight, and that was the difference to get this team into the second round. The good news is that the big time stars that we have grown to know on this team came up with some big offensive moments in the first round as well. Travis Zajac had the overtime winner in Game 6 that forced that series to seven games, and he and Ilya Kovalchuk are going to have to be big once again this time around to keep up with an offense that is incredibly potent.
The Flyers were able to survive against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the postseason, but there is no question that if they play like this in this series, they could be in some trouble. Odds have it, their offense isn’t going to be able to drop two snowmen on Marty Brodeur like they did on Marc-Andre Fleury in Games 2 and 3 in the opening round of the playoffs, and that means that there is going to be a lot of pressure on Ilya Bryzgalov to have a good series in net. He did get better as the series against Pittsburgh wore on, including allowing just one goal in the decisive Game 6, but he had to get yanked out of Game 4 when Pittsburgh scored 10 goals, and he probably should have been pulled in any or all of the first three games as well. These are the types of games that Bryzgalov was brought to Philadelphia to win, and if he doesn’t get the job done, Head Coach Peter Laviolette is going to have some big time decisions to make in net.
New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers Pick: The Flyers just don’t strike us as the better team in this series, and this is a heck of a price to put on them at -165. That being said, we are going to take a shot at the Devils in Game 1, especially knowing that the road teams really played well in general in the first round of the postseason.
Free Hockey Pick: New Jersey Devils +155
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