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Round 1: Flyers vs. Rangers NHL Playoff Series Gambling Prediction & Lines

NHL Playoffs – Philadelphia vs New York Picks

The NHL’s second season is officially upon us – the playoff matchups are set and the playoff beards have already started sprouting.

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Odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup:
Philadelphia Flyers 18/1
New York Rangers 20/1

Odds to Win the 2014 Eastern Conference:

Philadelphia Flyers 17/2
New York Rangers 9/1
Flyers Series Prices +125
Rangers Series Prices -145

One of the more intriguing first round matchup comes in the East where the New York Rangers, after a slow start to their season take on the Philadelphia Flyers who also came on after a dreadful beginning to their season.

These two teams simply hate each other – making for what should be an emotional first round matchup. It will act as the first time the teams have met in the postseason since 1997 when the Flyers defeated the Rangers in five games.

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Coach Alain Vigneault was successful in bringing his brand of hockey to the Big Apple instilling a sense of chemistry and cohesion that the Rangers have lacked for seemingly forever. The Rangers are a balanced team, able to roll four lines all game long. Defense and goaltending are keys to this team as per usual and why not when you have Henrik Lundqvist to rely on.

Ryan McDonough has become one of the bst D-men in the NHL and will be tasked with shutting down Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell – a pretty good matchup on paper that may just go to McDonough and his partner Dan Girardi. Marc Staal is back to full health, Anton Stralman is a quality #4 and the moves they Rangers were able to make at the deadline look like genius – Kevin Klein and Raphael Diaz look like solid additions to a formidable top 6 Defensive group.
Up front the Rangers have really acclimated themselves to Alain Vigneault’s system – they are deep they are balanced and they are a cohesive bunch. Nine players scored at least 14 goals with Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis leading the way. Derrick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, Derek Dorsett and Daniel Carcillo provide depth and a grit that will be essential in their series against the Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers also offer a solid group of forwards. Claude Giroux between Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, Matt Read, Steve Downie, Michael Raffl and Zac Rinaldo make up a deep gritty forward unit that has been good all season long. Vincent Lecavalier has been moved to the fourth line surprisingly which speaks to the depth and talent up front in Philadelphia.

Defensively the Flyers are OK – not quite as stout as the Rangers and that is where the series may be won or lost. Goaltender Steve Mason was injured in the season finale and although he is expected to be OK, it is still a question mark that the Flyers don’t need at this point. Mason will have to be at his absolute best to outplay Henrik Lundqvist and even Mason’s best may not be enough to outplay King Henrik.

Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Mark Streit, Nicklas Grossmann, Andrew MacDonald and Luke Schenn are a solid D unit but aren’t quite at the same level as the Rangers in terms of talent and grit.

Betting Prediction

These teams played four times during the regular season with the home team winning each time. Needless to say – the team that plays better on the road has an advantage in this series. That said – the Rangers were the best road team in the NHL this season – 25 wins. That coupled with the fact that the Flyers haven’t won at MSG since 2011 makes the Rangers the team to go with here.

This series is going to be a war for sure – grit and toughness will be tested for both teams. Surprisingly, I like the Rangers to outmuscle the Broadway Bullies in this one. From the defense out the Rangers are big, they are fast and they are tough – built for playoff hockey.

But what it all boils down to is goaltending – just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins about goaltending in the playoffs! Who would you rather have – Henrik Lundqvist or a suddenly banged up Steve Mason?

Exactly – take the Rangers to win in a hard-fought six games.


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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.