2014 NHL Playoff Record (7-10, -2.25 units)
I should have stuck with two favorites last night but I truly believed my projected Western Conference champs would have closed out the series and prepared for the second round. But alas, they wilted mightily in the third period last evening and now must go to a Game 7 where anything can happen and usually does.
But that was the bad news because the good news was that we clicked with the road chalk Pittsburgh Penguins which gave us a split at the end of the day. That's emblematic of my entire postseason but there is still plenty of hockey left to play and by the time Lord Stanley's Cup is hoisted aloft, we will be celebrating right along with them with cash in our pockets and champagne in our glass. Let's take a look at the NHL odds in this lone game tonight and get back on track.
Will the real Steve Mason please stand up - please stand up? He came back in Game 4 to shutdown the Rangers which quite frankly shocked me because I figured there'd be plenty of rust after an injury sidelined him in the penultimate game of the regular season. But no, I advised a wager on the Rangers so Steve decided to change his name to Brick, as in Brick Mason, and build himself a wall in front of the crease. He stopped 37 shots and held the Rangers in check which culminated in a 2-1 home victory.
But then his encore performance fell flat. He stopped 18 of 21 shots and it rendered his Flyers helpless as they ultimately fell 4-2 and are now fighting for their playoff lives in this Game 6 tonight. So what do we do? Will the Rangers recreate their Game 3 magic when they flew into Philly and jetted out with a 4-1 win or will this be the narrow 2-1 victory that Philly secured when Steve Mason stood on his head?
Well boys and girls, I'm partial to the former as opposed to the latter. Mason is not a battle tested playoff goalie and quite frankly, I don't think he's all that great. Yeah, I said it and the Rangers will prove it just as they did in Sunday's game. New York has the highly talented Henrik Lundqvist tending the twine and though he may not be sporting the micro goals against average and save percentages of some of his elite contemporaries in this postseason, his 1.81 GAA and .926 SP isn't shabby by any means.
In addition, Brad Richards is starting to resemble the guy who won the Conn Smythe with Tampa Bay in another life and Martin St. Louis is getting involved whenever the puck nears the crease. The Flyers on the other hand have had to resort to dusting the mothballs off of 39-year-old Hal Gill's uniform who was rushed into action to replace Nicklas Grossman who injured his knee in Game 4. Gill made a key error which allowed Dominic Moore to walk in alone and tally a big third goal that proved to be insurmountable for Philadelphia.
The Rangers are 13-2 in series it has led 3-2 yet they have lost 11 consecutive games in NHL odds in which they held a series lead. Conversely, the Flyers are 7-10 in Game 6 when behind 3-2 in the series. What do those stats have to do with tonight's game? Not a damn thing but somebody out there will find it interesting and perhaps lead them to the same conclusion as mine. Rangers bounce the Flyers to advance in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
NHL Picks: New York -110