Free NHL Picks: Flyers Expected To Shake Up Avalanche

Dana Lane

Thursday, March 24, 2016 2:51 PM GMT

The Philadelphia Flyers are tied for the last wild card in the East but are trying to bounce back after a tough shootout loss to Columbus. See our NHL pick inside.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche (38-31-4 80 points) are facing a tough stretch of their schedule after a successful road trip but still find themselves on the outside of the playoffs by one point.  The Av's last nine games will be against potential playoff teams beginning tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers (35-24-13 83 points) who are tied with the Detroit Redwings for the final wild card spot in the East. To give you an idea of how difficult the upcoming schedule will be the Avalanche will face Washington, Anaheim, Nashville and St.Louis twice, and a showdown with the Minnesota Wild that could determine the last playoff spot Saturday which is one of the reasons I like the Flyers tonight in a look ahead spot. You could argue that if there was a game the Avalanche could overlook it would be this one against a non-conference foe with the Wild game looming.

Colorado will again have to overcome injuries to their top two scorers who will be out of the line-up tonight. Matt Duchene and Nathan Mackinnon are both dealing with knee injuries. With Mackinnon they are without a versatile center who has been compared to Sidney Crosby although no where near at this stage in career.  Duchene is extremely fast and can play at the wing or center. With the loss, third line center Carl Soderberg has increased responsibility while the Avalanche are thin up the middle. Soderberg has played well in his last two games but overall he isn't very aggressive and teams don't respect his shot.  

Not great news for a team that doesn't push allot of pressure on opposing goaltenders. Colorado averages 28.9 shots per game good for 24th in the league. I have never understood why the Colorado picked up Mikkel Boedker at the trade deadline.  It didn't address their need for a offensive player.  Don't get me wrong he could be better and perhaps will be under head coach Patrick Roy but his body of work suggest that he doesn't shoot the puck as much as he should and has been known to be injury prone.  Boedker will be on the top line tonight with Mikhail Grigorenko and Blake Comeau. Grigorenko has a tremendous upside but he is too inconsistent from game to game while Comeau will get better as he gains experience but as of now, he too, is plagued by inconsistent play.  So this what the Avalanche have to overcome tonight against the Flyers who are 9th in shots on goals (30.4) and don't nearly have the amount of injuries to overcome that Colorado does.  

Philadelphia has been on a hot streak to climb back in the playoff picture winning of of their last 13 overall. 

At this time of year I prefer to play teams that are playing well while playing games on a consistent basis.  Colorado has been one of those teams that don't seem to come back as strong after a layoff.  The Avalanche have dropped 35 of their last 52 games when they've had three or more days rest. Too much for the Avalanche to overcome tonight. Back Philadelphia as your NHL pick  and be sure to check the best NHL odds too for value games happening tonight. 

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NHL Pick: Philadelphia Flyers -120
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes