|PHI (-146) @ pinnacle|
4 of 4 Experts (100%) with a pick on the moneyline are aligned. 7* play on the Philadelphia Flyers (Straight-up).
Mike Lundin: WEDNESDAY NIGHT NHL MONEYLINE MASSACRE - NO BRAINER
The Montreal Canadiens deserve a lot of credit for beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games in the qualifying round. That being said, I think they'll come up short here in Game 1 of this first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Philly earned the top seed in the East after winning all three games in the round-robin tournament. An impressive feature considering the opponents was Boston, Washington, and Tampa Bay. The Flyers gave up one goal in each game, and this should be too big of a step up in competition for the Habs who caught Pittsburgh off guard.
Forum Legends: Wednesday Aug 12 NHL: Canadiens @ Flyers
If you asked me who I would pick in a series between these two teams with this kind of line before the break, I'd definitely say the Canadiens. I don't like to change my mind after just a handful of games, but the differences between these two teams were too large to ignore.
The Canadiens were one of the top teams in the leagues in expected goals %, only behind the Golden Knights. They were extremely consistent in getting good scoring chances without giving up too many. The Flyers were just middle-of-the-pack in that regard, but they improved quite a bit towards the end of the season.
In their last series, the Canadiens were getting significantly outplayed at 5 on 5 in expected goals % by the Penguins... the Penguins were just 25th in the league in that statistic.
The Canadiens were never actually good even though they generated a lot of chances. Price was struggling in net and they had a pretty low shooting %. Somehow that flipped and now they can't generate much offense and Price is the only reason they're winning games. I much prefer betting on teams that can generate offense, limit scoring chances, but have a mediocre goalie rather than only a great goalie with not much else going on.
The Flyers have shown themselves to be a dominant for at 5 on 5 which is the only thing that was missing all season. They have the shooters to finish, goalie to keep them in any game, and with the ability to sustain pressure and get good chances 5 on 5, they're going to be hard to beat.
Scott Rickenbach: Rickenbach NHL Playoffs *PA Insider* Wed *He is 11-1 / 92%!*
There are some very sharp "in the know" hockey folks who feel the Flyers have a great shot at hoisting the Stanley Cup this season. There are also many of those same people who feel the Canadiens are the worst hockey club in these NHL playoffs. Yes Carey Price is a fantastic goalie but the Flyers are a team that is heavy on producing shots. They produce a lot of shots and create great opportunities through head coach Alain Vigneault's systems. There has been a complete buy-in from the players and it is showing on the ice as they are a very tough team to play and again, as strong as Price is between the pipes, the Flyers are the much more talented team in terms of skaters. Also, you can't knock Flyers goalie Carter Hart as he shows amazing maturity for his young age and has appeared "in the zone" so far in these playoffs mentally and physically. He is certainly a big part of the reason that Philadelphia enters this game having won 12 of their past 13 games with 3 straight wins in the round robin and a 9-1 regular season ending run. The Habs certainly deserve some credit for getting past the Penguins in the qualifying round of this unusual post-season format. However, Evgeni Malkin did not look like himself in that series and the Pens just aren't what they use to be. Keep in mind, we're still talking about a Canadiens roster that lost 10 of 14 games to close out the regular season. They are lucky they even made it into this post-season format and, again, I give them (and in particular Price) credit for getting past Pittsburgh, but they face a much bigger challenge here and Vigneault and his Flyers know how important a Game 1 win is.
Sportspicker AI: NHL - PLAY OF THE DAY!
No team took greater advantage of the revised playoff format than Montreal. As the 12-seed, they wouldn't have even made the playoffs normally, but with this year's format, they snuck in and won their first round series over Pittsburgh. Now the stagecoach turns back into a pumpkin for Cinderella, as the Canadiens face #1 seed Philadelphia.
Best of luck!
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