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Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Free Picks & NHL Preview

Flyers vs Penguins NHL Spread/Handicapping

Headline: Battle of Pennsylvania Highlights Light Wednesday Night in NHL

The Philadelphia Flyers wrap up a six game road trip on Wednesday night with an encounter against their heated cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Philadelphia Flyers (7-9-0-1) at Pittsburgh Penguins (11-5-0-0)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Broadcast: RDS, TSN2, NBCSN
Flyers vs. Penguins Betting Lines from betonline.com
Philadelphia Flyers +1½ -220 +142 Ov 5½ -123
Pittsburgh Penguins -1½ +190 -156 Un 5½ +112

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The Flyers are coming off a 7-0 win over the Islanders on Monday after losing three of their previous four while the Penguins have won three straight and are looking every bit the contender that most felt they were before the abbreviated season started.

Philadelphia will be out to avenge a 3-1 opening night loss to the Penguins.

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The Philadelphia Flyers have been the most disappointing team in the NHL this season – two games under .500 and averaging a mediocre 2.65 goals per game. Claude Giroux seemed to spark the Flyers into action when he prompted a players meeting after their 4-1 loss to Montreal. He apparently sparked himself along the way as well – he had two goals and an assist against the Isles while Danny Briere and Matt Read also had three points apiece.

Giroux will likely continue to be the engine that makes the Flyers run – he has a point in 12 of his last 13 games against Pittsburgh and has 24 points over that stretch.

The Flyers will likely turn back to Ilya Bryzgalov who is coming off a 19 save shutout performance. He has certainly been hot and cold this year. Overall Bryzgalov has a 7-7-1 record with an OK 2.42 GAA and .911 save %.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had only one bad stretch this season but have been terrific other than those five games. On another win streak the Penguins will look to ride the hot play of their top line and their solid defense to yet another win against the team that eliminated them unceremoniously from the playoffs last year.

The Penguins have averaged 3.19 goals per game and guess who is getting it done? The Penguins’ top line of Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz has combined for five goals and 15 points in the previous three games. Crosby has been the catalyst, posting seven points in the last three contests – including an assist on Paul Martin’s late game-winner against the Sabres. His 24 points rank second in the NHL to Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek.

However Crosby has struggled recently versus Philadelphia – he has zero points and a minus-4 rating in the last three meetings, coming up empty in the final two playoff games. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Marc-Andre Fleury, 6-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average in his last seven starts overall, had a brutal time versus Philadelphia in the playoffs. He did however stop 26 of 27 shots last month to erase some of the frustration. The Pens overall has been doing a much better job in front of Fleury – Pittsburgh is allowing just 2.38 goals per game this year and Marc-Andre Fleury has a 2.34 GAA and .914 save percentage, and he’s allowed two or fewer goals in seven of his 11 starts this season.

Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:

• PHI are 2-8 in their last 10 vs. Atlantic.
• PHI are 3-11 in their last 14 road games.
• PIT are 22-8 in their last 30 home games.
• Over is 20-8-1 in PIT last 29 home games.
• Over is 35-15-2 in PIT last 52 overall.
• PHI are 7-2 in the last 9 meetings in Pittsburgh.
• Road team is 19-9 in the last 28 meetings.

The Philadelphia Flyers sure did take to heart the tongue-lashing that their Captain levied upon them – they looked sensational in a 7-0 win Monday. Given their strong history in Pittsburgh I am willing to take a shot on the underdog in this one. If they can’t get up for a game with the Penguins, the Flyers really are just an average team. Claude Giroux carries the Flyers to victory Wednesday!

Pick: Philadelphia Flyers +142. Take a look at the Over – 5.5 goals in this one as well


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