If there is a game that a team absolutely has to win here in NHL betting action in the playoffs, it is when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love.
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Maybe it is just good for the Pens to get away from their home ice. They are most certainly up against it here in the City of Brotherly Love, as they have already lost twice to the Flyers, and they have been absolutely crippled by a margin of 11-5 in the last five periods of hockey. The offense has done its job in that stretch, and men like Sidney Crosby are definitely carrying their weight. However, Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh defense have had an epic fail of a meltdown here in the playoffs, and that definitely wasn’t expected to be the case at the start of this series, knowing that all of the men with extensive postseason experience were wearing black and gold. We do have to remember though that, in spite of the 0-2 deficit that the team finds itself in, Pittsburgh has been in situations like this before, and it has the veteran savvy and the leadership to be able to claw out of this hole, perhaps as quickly as in two games, just as the Boston Bruins did last year when they dropped their first two games to the Montreal Canadiens.
Most recently though, it was the Flyers and not the Penguins that were in the Stanley Cup Finals, and we have to give all of the credit in the world to Head Coach Peter Laviolette and his staff for coming up with the perfect game plan to be able to put goals up in bunches against the Penguins. Dropping a snowman isn’t easy in any game, but especially in the playoffs when goals are really at a premium. There is definitely some breathing room and margin for error right now, as Laviolette and the gang would have to be happy even with just a split here in the City of Brotherly Love, figuring that it would be able to take at least one of the last three games in this series if that were the case. What we have to be careful with though, is the fact that we don’t have all that much confidence in Ilya Bryzgalov. He hasn’t played well all season long, and in spite of the fact that he does have two wins in this series, we have to remember that he did concede eight goals in those games. Still, Bryzgalov is clearly the best playoff goalie this team has had in quite some time, and he has been able to get the job done in the clutch when games were close late on.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers Pick: We just don’t see the Penguins laying down and dying. Are the percentages on the Flyers? Absolutely. There is no way that this team should be +105 at home under any circumstance. That being said, we still think that Pittsburgh is going to make a series out of this, and its veteran leadership should be able to pave the way for a win to cut the series deficit in half on Sunday.
Free Hockey Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -115
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.