Washington Capitals (-118, 5 o/u) at Philadelphia Flyers (+107)
With the last Eastern Conference Wild Card spot hanging in the balance, the Philadelphia Flyers (37-25-13, 87 pts) need to find a way to beat the best team in the NHL, the Washington Capitals (54-16-5, 113 pts), tonight at the Wells Fargo Center (8:00 PM Eastern).
With just seven games to go, the Flyers are neck and neck with the Detroit Red Wings for the last ticket to the playoffs in the East. The Flyers and Wings are actually tied for the moment with 87 points, but Philly has two games in hand.
Philadelphia hasn’t been able to get any separation from Detroit thanks to alternating wins and losses over their last six outings; the last time they were able to win back to back games was back on March 15-16 when they took care of Detroit and Chicago on back to back nights.
The Flyers were able to get the win against Winnipeg on Monday as Claude Giroux scored the winning goal with 13.6 seconds left in a 3-2 overtime victory. The Wings, meanwhile, fell 3-2 to Montreal in regulation last night.
Philly and Detroit are scheduled to meet on April 6 in what will likely be a massive game with a playoff-type atmosphere. But, before the Flyers can turn their attention to the Wings, they’ll have to deal with the league-leading Capitals.
Philadelphia handed Washington one of just nine home losses on the year, leaving DC with a 4-3 OT win back in late January. However, Washington still leads the season series, 2-1, and cruised to a 5-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center in November.
That win was just one of Washington’s league-leading 25 road victories on the year (25-9-3). They’ve kept up the strong play away from home of late, downing the Devils and Senators in their last two on the road.
Washington has secured first place in the East and, with Philly battling for the final playoff berth, this could easily be a first-round preview. That should provide a little extra motivation for a Washington team that is otherwise cruising to the finish line.
Pick: Washington (-118).
(Photo Credit: Jr2280 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)