Huge playoff implication in this one which may force both teams to start a little tentative against two goaltenders who are in playoff form. Get a preview and NHL pick here.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Detroit Red Wings
This starts a big three game set for the Detroit Redwings as they are set to face Philadelphia tonight, at Boston Thursday and at the New York Rangers Saturday. All three will have huge playoff payoffs if the Wings can at least take two of three. The Flyers, Bruins, and Redwings are all tied at 91 points although Boston is at a disadvantage because they've played one more game. The Wings are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 24 seasons.
The good news for Detroit is that Jimmy Howard is in the process of resurecting his season. In his last two four starts Howard has not allowed more than two goals and is coming off of back to back wins against Toronto and Minnesota over the weekend. Through his first 30 games Howard owned a 2.91 goals against average but that has come down after a 2.12 GAA in his last four.
The Flyers will sure welcome the return of Michal Neuvirth, who is close to returning to practice but will be out for the rest of the regular season, but in his abscense Steve Mason has been everything they've needed to get back in the playoff hunt. Before allowing five goals to the Penguins Sunday, Mason hadn't allowed more than two goals in seven straight starts while building a 5-1-1 record with a 1.67 goals against average. More impressive has been the Flyers 13-4-2 record in their last 19 games.
So let's focus on the first period with two teams that are not very good at putting the puck in the back of the net. The Wings are 22nd in total goals while the Flyers are a hair worse at 23rd. When you break that down by period you immdeiately notice a first period decline when breaking it down by periods. Detroit is 25th in first period scoring while Philadelphia in 29th. A numerical indication that backs up what you cann see with your eyes. The 'under' opened at -140 and has been quickly bet down to -135 so we are getting the best of the line. The movement is probably from the public remembering that the 'over' has hit in six of their last eight meetings. I have more of a first period tendency when betting totals because of the dreaded open net goal that always seems to come into play. Let's avaoid wasting two and a half hours only to get our money back.
From a trend perspective the game 'under' has solid backing. In the Flyers last 53 games the 'under' is 29-14-10 when their opponents score two goals or less in the previous game while the Detroit 'under' has cashed eight times in their last 13 games when playing on three days rest or more with three 'pushes'.
Free NHL Pick: Under 1.5 in first period.
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle