We’re in the midst of a great series between the Penguins and the Flyers. Philadelphia stole game 2 at PPG Paints Arena but returned home to fumble home ice in a loss in Game 3. Oddsmakers are banking hard on the back-to-back champs to take control tonight, making the Penguins -150 favorites for the 4/18 NHL free pick. This hard fought series has the feel of going the full 7 games, therefore is the better wager Philadelphia at home, at +130?
Is The Smart Money On Pittsburgh Wednesday Night?
No bettor could be blamed for taking the Penguins tonight. After all, this is the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions taking on a team whom they are 5-1 against in the last 6. Pittsburgh’s opponent, the Flyers, haven’t gotten out of the first round of the postseason since 2012, ironically a year that they toppled the Penguins 4 games to 2 in the conference quarterfinals. The Pittsburgh offense is clicking, with 13 goals in the three games of the series while the defense has been adept at stopping the Flyers, limiting them to 6 total goals. The Penguins had the 3rd best scoring offense in the NHL this year, and were tops in both shots and power play. The opportunities will definitely be there in the 4/18 NHL free pick.
If there’s one thing working against Pittsburgh tonight it’s the fact that they may be without Patric Hornqvist who is out with an upper body injury. Hornqvist has a goal and 2 assists in the series but perhaps most importantly serves as Sidney Crosby’s ‘right wing’ man on the top line and in the power play. Crosby has been outstanding in this series with a hat trick in the opener and 7 points total. Evgeni Malkin has two goals as well so at least Pittsburgh has some depth.
Philly Could Be a Bit Short Handed Tonight As Well
It’s not all sunshine and roses for the Flyers despite the fact that they stole a game on their rivals home ice in game two. The loss of Hornqvist could be huge for Pittsburgh, but it’s offset if the Flyers’ Sean Couterier can’t go tonight (Q-lower body). The C had a goal and 2 assists in the win over the Penguins as +182 underdogs 5 days ago. Couterier needs to be on the ice mostly because Claude Giroux (1 point) and Wayne Simmonds (1 point) have been virtually nonexistent. Philly was in the top 12 in the NHL in scoring during the regular season and needs to play like it in the 4/18 NHL free pick.
The matchup in net is the same it has been for the first three games of the season. Brian Elliott goes for the Flyers after surrendering 5 goals each in games one and two of the series. Elliot has stop just 69 of 80 shots in the series for a save percentage of a putrid .8625. Matt Murray mans the crease for Pittsburgh. He was a bit shaky in game 2, letting 4 of 23 SOG slip into the net. In games 1 and 2 however Murray has been superb stopping 51 of 52 shots.
4/18 NHL Free Pick Betting
The Penguins are a very popular pick tonight – as they should be. Pittsburgh’s stars are performing admirably while the Flyers’ have gone nonexistent. Philadelphia has seen some shaky play in night but will have the home crowd behind their back tonight. The Flyers were 22-14-3 at the Wells Fargo Center but were 0-2-2 against the Pens during the regular season. A loss tonight means Philly has to win two games at PPG Paints Arena – something they want to avoid. It’s been a magical sports year in the City of Brotherly Love, and it’s easy to envision the Flyers adding to that – if for only briefly.
Pick: Philadelphia Flyers +130