New Jersey went from a Game 7 win at Florida (the frying pan) into a back and forth battle against Philadelphia (the oven) to open their best of seven series. It was the third straight overtime game for Jersey and the team’s goal production has been steady at three goals per game but against the Flyers, that won’t put food on the table for long.
The loss of Kovalchuk and gain of Van Riemsdyk heavily sway the odds for this series towards Philadelphia
NHL betting shops opened the odds for Game 2 of the New Jersey vs. Philadelphia series at Flyers -150 and 5.5 Under (-128). Early indicators show the favorite getting action and the current price is Philly -163. The NHL odds for the total moved to 5.5 Under (-137) on news that Ilya Kovalchuk (lower body) would not dress.
Philadelphia leads all NHL playoff teams by a country mile with a 4.86 goals per game average that was just enough to get them past Pittsburgh in the first round. The Flyers also give up 4.14 goals per game but eliminate the 10-3 blowout loss in Game 4 from the equation and the Flyers GAA reduces to 3.17.
It’s still second highest among all 16 playoff participants but the scoring differential for the Flyers is what makes this team dangerous. Led by Claude Giroux (7G, 8 A) and Danny Briere (7G, 8A), the Flyers are outscoring opponents by 0.71 goals per contest – and that’s including the lopsided seven goal blowout.
Take that game away and Philly is outgunning teams 31 goals to 19, a margin of 12 goals in six games or 2.00 GPG.
The Flyers have scored 20 goals in four home games and the addition of James Van Riemsdyk only makes the offense more potent. “JVR” only played 7:31 in Game 5 against Pittsburgh and 6:46 in Game 6 – his first two games since breaking a bone in his left foot in a 6-3 win against the Islanders March 1.
In Game 1, Van Riemsdyk played 17:31 minutes including 3:16 on the power play, scored a go-ahead goal in the second and finished the night plus-3. He was plus-2 with four goals against Buffalo in last year’s playoffs before the Bruins bullied the Flyers out in Round 2 sweep but even against Boston, JVR scored three of the team’s seven total goals.
The Devils get plenty of first period shots and scoring chances, and they trail only Pittsburgh (13) and Philadelphia (12) with nine goals in the opening frame. If Philly wins this playoff series it won’t be because of Ilya Bryzgalov. But New Jersey is unlikely to have Marty Brodeur carry them onto the next round either. It will take scoring from both sides and plenty of it, leading this game “Over” the number.
Pick: Take the Over
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