Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. Regulation only. The Flyers have some nice pieces and they’re streaky but what they don’t have is the balance and/or goaltending to compete against a team that has kicked it nto another gear. After a four-game losing streak followed by a four-game winning streak, the Flyers are coming off a 5-4 OT loss to the Devils. The Flyers allowed 37 shots on net, they lost the puck possession battle by a slim margin and they also blew a two-goal lead. The Flyers beat the Golden Knights the game before that, however, they badly lost the puck-possession battle and the shots on net battle, 39-18. With Brian Elliott on the rack, Michal Neuvirth is the go-to-guy right now and he’s as streaky as the team he plays for. Meanwhile, if it means anything, ex-Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky is expected in net for Columbus and he has done rather well against his former team with a 9-2-0 record in 11 games with a 1.79 goals-against average and .939 save percentage.
The main reason for this choice is that something has clicked for the Jackets and it’s not just one game either. The Jackets are 2-4 over their last six games but they deserve to be 6-0 over that span because that’s how dominating they have been. It started with a 4-3 loss to the Islanders in which the Jackets fired away 49 shots on net and dominated the 5v5 Corsi For % battle. The Jackets would then lose back-to-back games in a home and home series against the Caps but once again, Columbus would absolutely dominate, outshooting Washington 39-25 in the first game and 37-17 in the second. That’s 76-42 in shots on net, not to mention a ridiculously big edge in 5v5 Corsi For %. Over the next three games, the Jackets would fire away 50, 51 and 57 shots on net respectively against the Devils, Islanders and Maple Leafs. They whacked the Devils and Islanders while outscoring them by a 10-2 count and then lost to Toronto, 6-3 on Wednesday in what was one of the more misleading scores of the NHL season. The Jackets outshot the Leafs in Toronto, 57-28. The Jackets are playing like a team possessed. They have been relentlessly coming hard at the opposition or 60 minutes without letting up for a second. If hard work pays off, then the Jackets are about to be rewarded in spades because you won’t find a more dominating string of six games in succession than what the Jackets just put forth. We’re betting it’ll be seven.
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COLUMBUS -½ +118 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.36)