Wednesday Picks: Can The Flyers Gain On The Capitals?
Only three games to be played for the NHL tonight. The Maple Leafs and the Islanders face off in a battle of two top-end Eastern Conference teams. Also, the Sharks will be looking to hold off the Red Wings who will be looking to play spoiler. And finally, can the Flyers gain on the Capitals?
Capitals vs. Flyers
The Flyers head to D.C to take on the Capitals at Capital One Arena. In the teams first two meetings Philadelphia has had the Capitals number winning 8-2 and then 2-1 later in the year. This is both teams’ first game after the all-star break; therefore both sides will be looking to start the second half of the year off on the right foot.
The Capitals have a seven-point lead on the Flyers in the Metropolitan division race, but as I stated earlier, the Flyers have had the Capitals number. The Flyers have also been extremely good since their losing streak. So can the Flyers gain some key points on the Capitals?
Holtby needs to play better in the second half of the year. Holtby’s 2.66 goals against average and .917 save percentage are totals that are average among goalies. Consequently, they are 14th in the NHL in goals against and are 12th in save percentage as a team. Both stats are in the top half of the NHL, but the Capitals want those numbers to be higher, and they know they should be higher.
Capitals At Home
The Capitals at home compared to the road are a completely different team. At Capital One Arena this season Washington is 18-7-1. The Flyers have been an average road team. As a result, their record on road ice stands at 11-8-4.
I like the Capitals to take this one. It’s the first game for both teams after the all-star break, and I like the Caps on home ice to come out fired up ready to set the tone for the second half of the season. For the Flyers to play it, they will have to get a goal or two early, but if they don’t I think Washington will start the second half off with a win. So can the Flyers gain on the Capitals? They can, but not tonight.
Maple Leafs vs. Islanders
Pick: Maple Leafs
The Islanders defensive woes have been the story of my season so far. Their offense is elite and can put up three to four goals every game, but unfortunately, their defense does the same. They are tied for second in the NHL with 3.4 goals for per game but are dead last in the NHL giving up 3.54 goals per game.
In this game, they will be going up against a Maple Leafs team that can score the puck and play defense. Until the Islanders fix their defensive issues, I cannot pick them to beat a team that scores more than three goals per game. Especially when that team has Auston Matthews and William Nylander scoring goals. Toronto will frustrate the Islanders, and they will win this game scoring more than three goals.
Red Wings vs. Sharks
The Red Wings are on the outside looking in for the Eastern Conference playoff race. These next two or three weeks will determine if they pack it in or if they try to make a run. The Sharks are in the thick of it out in the Western Conference. Just one point separates the two through five seed in the Pacific division, and every game will feel like a playoff game from this point on.
The Sharks have had a lot of success against teams that are at the bottom of the league; therefore I believe San Jose will handle the Red Wings. The Sharks Power Play will prove to be the difference maker in this one. I expect the Sharks to get a man-up goal on the way to beating Detroit convincingly.
“From Our Haus to Yours”