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2010 Stanley Cup Playoff Picks – Devils vs. Flyers

NHL Playoff Betting: Flyers vs Devils series preview & pick

Stanley Cup Betting fans sure are getting their money’s worth from the free nhl picks we give out here at Capperspicks.com. Stick with us for the entire 2010 NHL Stanley cup playoff run.

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  • GAME 1: @New Jersey, Wed. 4/14, 7:30 p.m.
  • GAME 2: @New Jersey, Fri. 4/16, 7:30 p.m.
  • GAME 3: @Philadelphia, Sun. 4/18, 6 p.m.
  • GAME 4: @Philadelphia, Tue. 4/20, 7:30 p.m.
  • GAME 5*: @New Jersey, Thu. 4/22, 7:30 p.m.
  • GAME 6*: @Philadelphia, Sun. 4/25, TBD
  • GAME 7*: @New Jersey, Tue. 4/27, 7:30 p.m.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the Philadelphia Flyers, who battled through locker-room issues, a coaching change and a ridiculous number of goalie injuries to make the playoffs. That said, no one ever doubted the talent on the Flyers roster. The higher-seeded Devils therefore have to be careful in round one.

(7) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS vs (2) NEW JERSEY DEVILS

You could argue that the Flyers are hockey’s most frustrating team given how little they got out of their roster this season despite being one of the deepest teams in the league. With a skilled forward corps led by Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Daniel Briere, Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, the Flyers ice two legitimately good scoring lines every single night.

Philly also has plenty of size, depth and talent on defense with Chris Pronger, Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle. Sports Betting at Sportsbook.com

The Devils are almost the opposite of the Flyers. While they’re arguably not as deep offensively, they get the most out of almost every player thanks to Jacques Lemaire’s opportunistic, defense-first system. Zach Parise has emerged as the type of forward every coach wishes he had; he’s fast, he has a goal-scorer’s release, he’s strong on the puck, he’s defensively responsible and he scores in the clutch. He’ll be New Jersey’s go-to guy on this series.

Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t a great fit for New Jersey; everyone aside from Lou Lamoriello realized that the day the Devils acquired him. But he’s still one of the top two or three pure snipers of the last decade and could terrorize the Flyers’ weak stable of goaltenders if he gets hot. Parise and Kovalchuk aren’t alone; Patrick Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner are vastly experienced role players and Travis Zajac is a two-way center with a big body that should hold up well in the postseason.

The Devils’ weakness is, without a doubt, their defense corps. They’re a responsible group that doesn’t get torched too often but they contribute little offensively aside from Paul Martin and Andy Greene. Worse yet, they’re among the smallest groups in the league save for Colin White. Philly coach Peter Laviolette always deploys an aggressive forecheck with his big forwards, so you know the Flyers will bang the heck out of New Jersey’s pint-sized blueliners.

The size advantage on defense certainly gives Philly a chance to win this series. But the goaltending matchup is laughably one-sided. With Ray Emery, Michael Leighton and even rookie Johan Backlund banged up, Brian Boucher was handed the starting goaltending job as the fourth option. He went just 9-18-3 with a 2.76 goals against average and .899 save percentage. Goaltending is vital for any championship team and Boucher is nowhere near the same stratosphere as Marty Brodeur, who still managed nine shutouts this season in his “off” year.

Since the Flyers have a chance to intimidate the New Jersey defense significantly, especially at home, I wouldn’t expect a quick series. But there’s simply no way I can pick the Flyers to survive round one with their current goaltending situation. The crafty, intelligent Devils will prevail.

Prediction: Devils in six.

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