NHL Picks: Flyers vs. Rangers

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 3:01 PM GMT

Atlantic division foes clash on Tuesday night where the Flyers invade Madison Square Garden, hoping to break the .500 mark and climb in the standings in our NHL betting odds.

Swinging Johnson - NHL Record (3-0, +6.25 units)

*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.

Update:

My God it seems so easy when you’re going good but so difficult when you’re in the thick of a cooler. I am proud to say we are a perfect 3-0 on the season with our latest score being a 4 unit money maker on the Bruins over the Islanders last Tuesday evening

Let’s keep this love-train rollin’ with a peek at tonight’s tilt between the Flyers and the Rangers, as we look for the best options for our NHL picks tonight.

[gameodds]7/220293/43/us[/gameodds]

Philadelphia Flyers (11-11-1)

The Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has been a workhorse for the team thus far, appearing in all but two of the 23 games played. Both those games in which he rode the pine were losses so head coach Peter Laviolette shouldn’t be taking any chances tonight against a divisional opponent on the road like the New York Rangers.

The Flyers are riding a mini-streak, with victories over the Capitals (4-1) and most recently the Senators (2-1) in a Saturday matinee affair. Jakub Voracek has led the team this season in goals (9), assists (16) and points (25), adding to that total in his most recent game against Ottawa where he scored the opening goal of the night. He has collected at least one point in seven of his last eight games.

The Flyers are 10th in the NHL in scoring, and ranked 9th on both their power play and penalty killing units. However, defense has not been their strong suit, allowing 2.9 goals per game which places them 20th in the league. 

New York Rangers (10-8-2)

The Rangers have fallen markedly short of expectations this season after amassing 109 points and claiming the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season. However, it appears they may have shaken off the early season rust after their disappointing exit to the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals. The Rangers, like the Flyers, have won their last two games with victories over Tampa Bay (4-1) and Buffalo (3-2 shootout).

Okay, so maybe that’s overstating it a bit considering the Lightning and the Sabres are not exactly championship caliber squads this season but hey, we’re trying to rationalize how a team that tore it up in 2012 could be so mediocre a season later. Henrik Lundqvist is still a beast between the pipes and the primary reason why the Rangers rank in the top 10 in both goals allowed (9th) and penalty killing (7th). 

Yet, there’s something missing from the offense when you consider their leading point getter Rick Nash has only five goals and 16 points on the season. Their power play unit has been ineffective, converting on only 14.1% of their opportunities. However, there are signs that this anemic unit has received a transfusion, tallying on 3 of 8 chances over the past two games. 

The Pick:

The teams have split the first two games this season with each winning in their own building, both by scores of 2-1. This should be another hotly contested game with both teams seeking to gain traction in the standings not mention the natural rivalry that exists.

There’s no doubt the Rangers have dominated this series in recent years with New York winning 9 of the last 10 meetings between them. However, the victories are never blowouts and the only thing that scares me about grabbing the + money in this one is that Lundqvist can stand on his head, and usually does. Nevertheless, we will back the Flyers because I don’t see enough separating the two teams at this juncture to suggest laying what the NHL odds makers are asking for on the Rangers. Tread lightly in this one.

Free NHL Picks: Philadelphia +125 for 1 unit at Pinnacle in your NHL betting odds.