Washington vs Philadelphia Free NHL Pick
The Metropolitan Division champion Washington Capitals meet the wild card Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. The series begins Thursday night in Washington. For most of the season, it looked like the Boston Bruins would take that second wild card, but Boston’s defense never was able to play consistently enough to get the team wins, and so the Flyers were able to scrape their way in on Saturday when they beat the Penguins and the Bruins took a 6-1 beating from Ottawa. The Flyers and Capitals are meeting for the fifth time in the postseason and the first since 2008, when Philadelphia knocked Washington out in seven games in the first round. However, given the dominant way the Capitals have played all season, most observers see them as a team that will go deep into these playoffs. Find out the latest NHL online betting lines here.
Washington Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers Free NHL Pick
Why should you bet on Washington to win?
The days when this team began and ended with captain Alex Ovechkin are long gone. Sure, he did top 50 goals for the third straight season, including a hat trick against the Blues in a 5-1 Caps laugher on Saturday, but this is now a talented team from top to bottom. Braden Holtby, a candidate for the Vezina Trophy, won 48 games this season — good for a tie with the single season record. They scored 248 goals (second only to the Stars’ 265). The Capitals also dominated special teams, finishing fourth in both the power play and the penalty kill. The Caps put up 120 points, showing that they were a solid team from wire to wire.
Why should you put your money on the Flyers to win?
The Flyers’ hopes will rest on Steve Mason, who has talent in goal but only won 23 games for the season. He will need to perform a series of miracles in goal to give Philadelphia momentum to win. This is a Flyers team that picks up a number of penalties — and they finished #22 on the season on the penalty kill, so they would not want to give the Capitals any opportunities to go up on the man advantage. The Flyers have been hot down the stretch, going 15-6-2 in the last 23 games, outscoring the opposition by 63 to 53 and peppering goalies with 33 shots per game. This is a team that is going to have to play as though there is absolutely nothing to lose — and they will have to hope their gambles pay off.
Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction
The Capitals have been terrific this season. While Alex Ovechkin has been getting the press, Evgeny Kuznetsov, the second line center, tallied 20 goals and 57 assists to get 77 points in 82 games. That gives the Capitals a competitive second line to go along with that killer line of Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom. The Flyers will put up a game effort but will ultimately lose. I’m predicting Washington in five.