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Flyers vs Bruins Picks – Flyers oust Bruins in tough, physical series

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/30/2010 1:57:43 PM
NHL odds – Flyers in Six

In a pair of online betting upsets, Philadelphia and Boston emerged from the first round with gritty special-teams play, timely goals, and great goaltending.  The two similarly-constructed teams will face off in Round 2, beginning on Saturday afternoon, and the Flyers’ edge on the bench, and on offense, will put them in the conference finals.

NHL betting odds: Flyers in Six

The Story

The sixth-seeded Bruins pulled off the six-game upset of Buffalo with three one-goal wins, while getting a superb goaltending performance from Tuukka Rask, along with great special teams.  The seventh-seeded Flyers, led by goalie Brian Boucher, shut down New Jersey’s attack in a five-game upset, and like the Bruins, their special teams were working. 

These two split four meetings this season, with each winning one game at home and on the road.  Injuries could also play a game in this series, as Boston will be getting an important piece back in the lineup, while the Flyers are missing a couple.

Who Has The Edge On Offense: Flyers vs Bruins?

The Flyers lost Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter to foot injuries in the first round, leaving the load to captain Mike Richards, who had eight points against the Devils.  Claude Giroux and Danny Briere combined for 11 points, but word now is that Gagne may be back as soon as Game 3, which would be a boost.  The Flyers’ power play was slightly better than the Bruins at 27.6%, and they have more offensive depth than the Bruins, even without Carter or Gagne. 

While neither team is an offensive juggernaut, but the Bruins will get their best playmaker back as Marc Savard has been cleared to play after missing almost two months with a concussion.  That could be good news for Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic, especially Lucic, who doesn’t have a goal in the postseason.  But Savard has missed a lot of time, so Boston fans shouldn’t expect him to come out of the gate fast.  The Bruins smartly took their chances on the power play, converting 27.3% opportunities.

Edge: Flyers

Who Has The Edge On Defense/Goaltending: Flyers vs Bruins?

Boucher’s 1.59 GAA was the best of the opening round, and he also racked up a .940 save percentage.  He’s playing like the rookie that burst on the scene with the Flyers in 2000, when he led the NHL in GAA, not the goalie that they traded to Phoenix three seasons later.  Chris Pronger had a solid first series as a Flyer, and this time of year is why Philadelphia went out and picked him up. 

Since the Bruins aren’t known for scoring goals, their sportsbook odds depend heavily on their defense and goaltending.  Rask outplayed Buffalo counterpart (and likely Vezina winner) Ryan Miller, posting a 2.18 GAA and a .927 save percentage.  The penalty-killing unit stopped the Sabres on all 19 of their chances, and that was pretty much the difference in the series.  However, the Bruins know that captain Zdeno Chara can improve his play as the big defenseman was -1 in the first round.

Edge: Even  

Who Has The Edge In Experience: Flyers vs Bruins?

Both teams have experienced players who know what it takes to win a ring, but the difference for NHL betting players may come behind the bench, where Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette will try and count on his Cup-winning experience in 2006 with Carolina.  Boston’s Claude Julien has never won a Stanley Cup, but he was the Coach of the Year last year, and did a great job of holding the team together in the face of injuries.  However, Laviolette gets the nod as the Flyers were a mess before he arrived in December, and the confidence he has given Boucher has been amazing.

Edge: Flyers

Who Will Win The Flyers vs Bruins Series?

The Bruins are a slight sports betting favorite at -140, but don’t count out the Flyers, by any means.  They’ll be able to match the Bruins’ physical play, and in fact, the Flyers should be the tougher team.  Buffalo showed an ability to get under the Bruins’ skin in the first round, and if Boston thinks that’s bad, they haven’t seen anything until they meet Daniel Carcillo and company.  The Bruins also can’t expect Savard to turn their attack around on his own, while the Flyers have a much better chance of Gagne making an impact when he returns.  This won’t be a series for the faint of heart, but go with the Flyers in your sports betting book.

Pick: Flyers in Six



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