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Islanders vs Flyers Betting Odds - Laviolette still seeking first win

Posted by Don Melrose on 12/8/2009 11:07:15 AM

NHL Odds: Pick Flyers -170


hockey oddsWho knew that Islanders vs Flyers betting odds would tell a tale of desperation at this point of the NHL season – and that the desperate team would be Philadelphia, not Long Island? After losing three straight games and firing head coach John Stevens last week, the Flyers hired bench boss Peter Laviolette...and lost their next two games. Will the bleeding stop here?


Islanders vs Flyers betting odds: Laviolette a good fit for Philly in the long run
Flyers are most penalized team in the league but Laviolette brings discipline
Rookie Tavares already the face of the Islanders
Laviolette succeeded coaching a similar big, fast team in Carolina; Flyers will eventually click with him


Tonight, 7:00 p.m. ET
Islanders vs Flyers betting odds: Islanders +150, Flyers -170
Islanders: 11-11-7 (4th Atlantic)
Flyers: 13-13-1 (5th Atlantic)

That’s not a misprint you see above these words, sports betting fans. The Philadelphia Flyers really are behind the New York Islanders in the 2009-10 standings after so many pundits had them contending for the Stanley Cup. For whatever reason, John Stevens couldn’t motivate this young, talented group. Or perhaps he just couldn’t control them. The Flyers have been true to Broadstreet Bullies lore this season, taking a league-high 180 penalties – 18.3 minutes per game. Guys like Daniel Carcillo, Riley Cote and, of course, Chris Pronger are loose cannons at times and even captain Mike Richards has been slapped on the wrist for dirty play.

The Flyers have lacked direction this season, focusing on the physical part of the game (which they do better than most if not all teams) but getting burned on the penalty kill and struggling to muster consistent offense of their own. Jeff Carter, for example, isn’t even on a 30-goal pace after sniping 46 last season.

So far, not-so-good for Philly under Peter Laviolette. The Flyers lost 8-2 to Washington on Saturday and 3-1 to the Habs last night. Islanders vs Flyers betting odds therefore give the Islanders a fighting chance. These aren’t the Isles of last year; 2009 first overall draft pick John Tavares is living up to the hype, showing a natural goal scorer’s touch and making others around him better. He’s turned castoff Matt Moulson into a potential 40-goal man.

The Islanders are working toward respectability and are no longer automatic sportsbook picks to lose. However, tonight should belong to the Flyers. Sure, Philly isn’t starting well under Laviolette, but history suggests the trend should reverse dramatically soon. In no sport do we see a stronger immediate effect from coaching changes than in pro hockey. The Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves out of a playoff spot more than halfway through last season before replacing Michel Therrien with Dan Bylsma. Under Bylsma, the Pens went 18-3-4 in the last 25 regular season games and powered their way to a Stanley Cup championship.

Given the talent on Philly’s roster, a similar turnaround under Laviolette wouldn’t be out of the question. He won the 2006 Stanley Cup coaching a similar Carolina Hurricanes team, which was also loaded with big, fast power forwards.

DON’S PICK: It’s only a matter of time before the Flyers start responding to Laviolette and a home game against a divisional rival, whom Philly already beat this season, seems like a logical starting point. Bet on the Flyers to finally show up and start what could become a serious run up the standings.

Islanders vs Flyers betting edge: Flyers -170

Check the Sports Betting Edge hockey section every Tuesday and Friday for expert online betting analysis from Don Melrose at BetOnline.

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