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Philadelphia Flyers vs N.Y. Rangers Gambling Preview & Free NHL Picks

Flyers vs Rangers NHL Handicapping

As recently as a couple of months ago, the NHL’s Metropolitan division was the undisputed laughing stock of the league. Aside from the Pittsburgh Penguins, all the division’s other teams were playing horrendously.

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The Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers have righted the ship admirably though, and at just the right time.

Date/Time: Wednesday, March 26 2014, 8 pm EST
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York NY
New York, Philadelphia
MoneyLine: Rangers -141

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The Blueshirts are 7-3 in their last 10 games and the Flyers are 7-2-1, so it’s a battle of two surging Nor’easter squads in the Big Apple on Wednesday night. New York’s improved play is thanks primarily to the renaissance of franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist; long hailed as one of the league’s elite puckstoppers.

He was having quite a down season by his standards in the first half of the campaign, but he’s turned the corner with some solid play of late.

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The scoring of Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash hasn’t hurt, and we can’t forget the addition of the NHL’s biggest little man, Martin St. Louis.

For Philly’s part, players like Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read – players that were invisible during the Flyers’s miserable start to the season – have picked up their games and are filling the scoresheet on a regular basis.

Goaltending has always been the Achilles’ heel for the Flyers, but Steve Mason’s numbers of a 2.58 GAA and .918 save percentage are respectable, especially when guys like Giroux are playing to their capabilities. Former coach Peter Laviolette infamously put Giroux on the same level as Sidney Crosby, claiming he had a stake to be one of, if not, the league’s elite player.
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For a long while it seemed the bar was set too high for both the speedy Giroux and his team; it’s taken ages but Philly finally has the look of a team that is comfortable in its own skin.

With 83 points for Philadelphia and 84 for the Rangers, both teams are in the thick of the wild-card hunt in the Eastern Conference. Almost all games have important implications this time of year, but this game is especially crucial for divisional jockeying and playoff seeding.

With the Red Wings limping along and the Maple Leafs mired in a horrific skid, other teams may drop further out of the race, but that’s still no consolation for Philly and New York, who are both joining the playoff discussion at the eleventh hour.

Mason looked really good in Philly’s last game against the St. Louis Blues, a 4-1 victory (and the Flyers’s fifth straight). He turned away 32 shots and if he can carry this mojo into Wednesday, I like Philly’s chances.

Playing a team like the Rangers, Mason has to be on top of his game because you have to assume that you are going to get Lundqvist at his best and if you don’t, it’s simply a bonus.

The Broadway Blueshirts have a nice streak of their own going, with four straight Ws.

This game could go either way because both rosters are built intelligently and both are riding high on momentum currently.

However, I’ve long thought and still think that Philly was an excellent hockey club that just had to be coaxed into its full potential.

This seems to be happening before our eyes, which bodes poorly not only for those teams scrapping for the last spots in the East, but the entire league.

Philadelphia 3, New York 2 (OT)

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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