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A light schedule in the NHL last night forced me out of action, which was mildly disappointing as I was looking for an opportunity to make up for Tuesday night’s pick. I had the Predators to snap their losing skid and beat an inferior New Jersey Devils team who most likely will miss the postseason again this season. The Devils however remained solid on the defensive end and Corey Schneider did his part to allow the Devils to send the Preds to their fourth consecutive loss and their sixth in their last eight contests. I truly expected Nashville to come out of their funk as they have been one of the NHL’s most consistent teams this season and I was confident in their opportunity to get back on the winning side of things. It did not go our way and after a night off let’s get back at this evening where there are eight games on the schedule.
St. Louis Blues @ Philadelphia Flyers
My Pick – OVER 5.5 (+125)
The St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers meet for a rare meeting tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in the City of Brotherly Love, however they will get to know each other well over the next seven days. The Blues and Flyers will meet for the second time in a week on March 12th in St. Louis, which will likely make for some entertaining games given the make up of these two squads. The Blues have been a Western Conference powerhouse for a few seasons now and are safely in a playoff spot again this season but their counterparts this evening are not so comfortable as they sit five points out of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers are certainly a better team on home ice as they have gone 3-0-2 over their last five home games and they boast one of the league’s most lethal powerplays to boot. Their 23% powerplay is third best in the NHL, however the Blues sit just a hair behind them with a 22.8% clip with the man advantage, something that fares very well for this pick considering the Flyers are 28th in the league with their 76.6% penalty kill. St. Louis has one of the deepest groups of forwards you will find around the league as they average 3 goals per game thanks to a massive breakout seasons from Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. Of course, these players aren’t the only reason St. Louis’ offense is near the top of the league as Alex Steen has had another big year and players like David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk (although injured at the moment) and Paul Stastny combine to make this a very formidable offensive group. Philly can also score with the best of them (especially on home ice) as Jakob Voracek and Claude Giroux have teamed up to form one of, if not the league’s most potent 1-2 punch and will be heavily relied upon down the stretch to try and get this team in to the postseason. Although Steve Mason has performed well for Philly this season, the Flyers have still managed to give up 2.8 goals per game which has left them vulnerable at times and forced them in to scoring 4-5 goals on some nights to have a chance at a win. I am thinking this is going to be one of those nights. Two strong offensive teams who boast fantastic powerplay numbers and below average penalty killing numbers playing head-to-head usually results in some high scoring meetings. Take the OVER 5.5 tonight at a great price and enjoy what should be some very entertaining hockey in Philadelphia.