NHL Hockey Betting: Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals

NHL Hockey Betting:  Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals shut down–and shut out–the Philadelphia Flyers in Game One of this opening round best of seven series. Game Two takes place on Saturday night and could be more of the same. Washington was a juggernaut in the regular season and are playing to overcome their history of playoff disappointments. The Capitals stat line underscores their dominance–#2 in goals per game, #2 goals against, #5 power play, #3 penalty kill. When a team is that good in every significant phase of the game they’re tough to beat.

They could be especially tough to beat for a Philadelphia Flyers side that may not have anything left in the tank following their frenzied run over the past couple of months just to reach the postseason. They’ll be without defensive forward Sean Couturier for the rest of the first round and that’s a huge loss. He was expected to play a major role in trying to stop the Caps’ offense. In contrast to the Capitals the Flyers don’t look like much statistically. They’re out of the top ten in every major statistical category including goals per game (#22), goals against (#12), power play (#11) and penalty kill (#20).

Philadelphia may have to come out and play an even more physical brand of hockey in Game 2–that may be their best chance to disrupt the Capitals’ and particularly on the offensive end. Of course, they’re not the first team to have this idea so you can conclude that it’s of limited effectiveness. The Flyers aren’t a bad team but they’re just not in the same class as the Capitals. At this point, the Capitals will win the series unless they ‘beat themselves’. If they continue to play their style of hockey and particularly if the defense and goaltending remain top flight the Flyers don’t have much up their sleeves to stop them.

The price is a consideration at this level, however, and Philadelphia played the Capitals tough this season. The teams split four games in the regular season with each winning once at home and once on the road. Over the last three years, the Flyers have the edge winning 8 of the last 14 meetings including 4 of 7 at Washington. But with the Flyers grueling path to the postseason a major factor have to side with Washington here.