Things haven’t always looked good here in the playoffs for the Philadelphia Flyers, but they are just three wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years. They’ll look for a 2-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of this best-of-seven series on Tuesday night.
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The Devils were able to get the job done with their big time scorers in the first game of this series. Petr Sykora, who was held without a goal in the entire seven-game set against the Florida Panthers, was able to score the game-tying goal in the third period to send the game into overtime. Zach Parise logged his third goal of the playoffs, while Travis Zajac had a power play goal at the tail end of the second period to keep this game close. The problem came on the defensive side of the ice, where the unit allowed 36 shots to reach Martin Brodeur. Brodeur had looked shaky at times in the series against the Panthers, but as the series got tighter, he was able to get the job done and looked better and better. This time around though, there were some moments in which the cagey veteran just didn’t look to be at his best, including in the overtime period when he gave up the goal that put his team down 1-0.
Once again, Ilya Bryzgalov wasn’t at his best. And once again, it was the offense that really got the job done and bailed him out. The former Phoenix Coyotes standout has the worst GAA for any goalie still left standing here in the postseason, but he also has one of the best records to show for his work as well. He stopped 23-of-26 shots in Game 1 to take the series lead, but without the play of his offense once again, he would probably be a goat that was on the hook for losing his job. Amazingly, Danny Briere was able to score the first goal of the game and the game winner in OT, giving him seven goals in seven games here in the playoffs. Jakub Voracek, who hit the overtime winner in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins two weeks ago, assisted on both goals, giving him seven helpers in total for the playoffs. Claude Giroux had a power play strike early in the third period, his seventh goal of the postseason as well. James van Riemsdyk, a man that really hadn’t been heard from all that much at the end of the season, scored just 37 seconds after Briere scored his first goal of the night in the second period.
New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers Pick: Somehow, Philly’s offense just keeps going at a torrid pace here in the playoffs, but we still think that the odds are going to be on the side of the Devils in this series. They’ve got the better defensive team, and they certainly have the better goalie, and we think that will show in Game 2.
Free Hockey Pick: New Jersey Devils
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.