NHL Picks: Flyers vs. Blackhawks

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 4:09 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 4:09 PM GMT

The Blackhawks host the Flyers on Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The NHL odds are finally out; find out where we believe the best value lies.

According to NHL betting odds there’s been no line or total posted at the time of this writing, due to the uncertainty in goal for Chicago. Philadelphia has defeated Chicago in 17 of their last 23 meetings. The home team has won 9 of the last 11-games between these two clubs. These teams have seen 5 of their last 6 meetings go over the total.

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Time to make a Move

The Flyers had done a nice job of overcoming a horrible start to the season, but now have reverted back to their old ways losing 3 of the last 4. In their defense they’ve been in the midst of a difficult part of their schedule recently. Tonight will be their last of a 6-game in 13-day road trip that’s seen them go 2-3 thus far. They’re coming off a 5-4 overtime shootout loss at Ottawa on Monday night. The Flyers have gone over the total in each of their last 3-games with an average of a combined 8.0 goals per game scored. Philadelphia has gone a dismal 1-7 in their last 8-games versus an opponent with a winning record.

Holding Serve

The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks continue to attempt to tread water despite their injury problems in goal. Their #1 goaltender Corey Crawford went down with a lower body injury versus Florida on December 8th, and is expected to be out for at least another 2 weeks. In addition their veteran backup Nikolai Khabibulin has been out since the middle of November with a lower body injury. They’ve had to turn to 24-year old Antti Raanta who has performed very well. Raanta is 4-1 in 5-starts with a 2.14 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Raanta has been backed up by Kent Simpson who has yet to see action in a NHL game. This will be the Hawks 3rd game in the last 4-days. They won the previous two in decisive fashion by identical 6-2 scores over Florida, and last night at Dallas. The Hawks have gone 16-6 in their last 22-games.

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Final Analysis

I am going to have to pass on a free NHL pick with this game tonight. It’s uncertain whether the Hawks head coach Joel Quennville will start Raanta on back-to-back nights, or go with Simpson who would be making his first career NHL start. Ironically the Flyers will turn to Ray Emery in goal tonight. Emery was the Hawks backup on last season’s Stanley Cup winner.

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