The Canucks (23-15-3) are holding onto that last wild card spot in the Western Conference and would like to keep it that way as they face a Philadelphia Flyers (17-20-7) teams that fares well on home ice. Let's take a look at this matchup in detail as we make our betting pick.
Ice time is set for tonight at 7:00 pm ET at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although the Flyers don't appear to be going anywhere where the playoffs are concerned this season, Philly is 11-6-3 on home ice and the Canucks have lost 3 straight games.
The NHL odds list the Canucks as a moderate -140 betting favorite and the total for the game is 5.5 goals.
Miller vs. Emery
There's no confirmation of goalies at this point, therefore we'll assume that Ryan Miller (20-9-1, 2.48 GAA ) will be in net for the Canucks and Roy Emery (7-7-1, 3.21 GAA) will be between the pipes for the Flyers.
Steve Mason is out with an injury and this will likely leave the workload for Emery, who has had a rather shaky season. Since Decmeber 27th, Emery has only gotten 3 starts and is winless, allowing 3 goals in each game.Vancouver definitely has the advantage with Miller in net. Miller had been sick, but has indicated that he's ready to go for tonight's game. In his last 5 games, Ryan Miller has a SV% of .939 and it will be up to the Flyers offense to put forth a strong effort to have a chance in this game.
Although we didn't see much offense from the Flyers in their last game, a 1-0 loss to Washington, Jakub Voracek has been the model of consistency in which offense is concerned for this Philadelphia Flyers team. Voracek leads the Flyers in points with 52 (17 goals and 35 assists) and has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 games. Voracek is a very aggressive winger that doesn't mind to mix it up and Philly will be relying on him heavily tonight.
Another key player on the Philly roster is defenseman Mark Streit. Streit is a passing machine with 26 assists on the season and already has 6 assists in the month of January (7 games). Philadelphia has plenty of offensive options and this game might rest upon the shoulder pads of goalie Roy Emery.
In Need of a Star?
Vancouver wins a lot of their games with their defense and power play killing ability. This is a deep team with no definitive star as Radim Vrbata leads the Canucks in goals at 16, but there's not another Canuck with double figure goals.
After back to back goals at the start of the New Year, Vrbata is scoreless in his last 3 games. Maybe facing a Philadelphia team which allows 2.8 goals per game and is weak in net is just what the doctor ordered for the Canucks. It appears to be the perfect matchup. Although Vancouver doesn't possess a legitimate star, they still have the capability of lighting the lamp as their 2.7 goals per game indicates.
This game will come down to defense as Roy Emery has given the Flyers no reason to have confidence in him. Vancouver is the NHL pick tonight.
NHL Pick- Vancouver- 140 at 5Dimes