Ottawa Senators (-145) at Philadelphia Flyers (+125, 5 o/u)
The NHL playoff field will be set after tonight.
All the Western Conference teams have already learned their fate.
Out east, the Ottawa Senators (42-26-13, 97 pts) need just one point from today’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers (33-30-18, 84 pts) to officially punch their ticket to the postseason (12:30 p.m. Eastern at the Wells Fargo Center).
The Sens have made a furious playoff push over the last six weeks of the season, rocketing up the standings and finally catching the erstwhile eight-place Bruins by posting back-to-back wins over Pittsburgh and the Rangers in their last two games.
The win over Pittsburgh was a microcosm of the Sens’ season. The team went down 3-0 in the first period and looked lost. But they dominated over the final 40 minutes and managed to score three unanswered goals to force OT. Then Mark Stone played the hero, potting the winner midway through the extra frame.
Ottawa left the dramatics at home against New York, taking a 2-0 lead on second period goals by Clarke MaCarthur and Kyle Turris before J.G. Pageau sealed the deal with an empty netter in the third.
Rookie goalie Andrew Hammond continued his storybook run, posting a 26-save shutout against the NHL-leading Rangers.
Tonight, the Sens are on the road against the disappointing Flyers. Philly is going to finish the year double-digits back of a playoff spot, and can largely thank its porous defense for that. The Flyers have surrendered over 230 goals on the year and are fourth-last in the conference in the category.
That said, Philly has been a completely different team at home versus on the road. Away from home, the Flyers are a miserable 10-20-11; but at the Wells Fargo Center, the team has posted a solid 23-10-7 mark.
They dropped their last game at home to the Hurricanes, 3-1, but had won two straight at Wells Fargo prior.
Flyers forward Jakub Voracek is still in the hunt for the Art Ross Trophy, sitting just two points back of NHL scoring leader John Tavares. The Czech winger is a longshot to win the award with just one game left in the year, but could find himself with some new hardware with a big game today.
The Senators are -145 road favorites for today’s game, while the Flyers are at +125. The o/u is sitting at five goals.
Ottawa knows that a single point will see them qualify for the playoffs, so look for the Sens to put out a big defensive effort, making the under the better play.
(Photo credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)