Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:45 PM EST.
8:35 PM EST. Regulation only. We’re just as disgusted with the Stars as anyone else. Here’s a team that was destined (projected) for great things in ‘17/’18 and here we are in late March and Dallas will once again be watching the playoffs from the rail. Here’s a team that at the most crucial time of the year has dropped eight games in a row and has one win over its past 10. To top things off, the Stars were close to a 2½-1 favorite to beat Vancouver on Sunday and they lost 4-1. That was the Stars second home loss to Vancouver since Feb 11. Vancouver beat them on that day, 6-0.
With all due respect to everyone that is understandably thinking Philadelphia here, the time to fade the Stars has passed. It is not prudent to jump off a team when its stock is at its lowest and that applies here. As hard as it may be, the time to buy Dallas would be now when most of the market is jumping off them. Once again, we’ll reiterate that we’re not in the prediction business. We are in the value and over/under-reaction business and in that regard, we have to plug our nose and bet the Stars here. One thing about hockey players is that they are a different breed of athlete. They do not quit no matter what and Dallas has not quit. They’ve had weak goaltending with four of their last eight losses being by one goal and two more by two goals in which the opposition added an empty netter. Therefore, the Stars were a lousy bounce or save away from winning six of those eight games. The Dallas Stars are going down this year and their coach may be out the door but they are not going down without a fight.
Philadelphia is 3-0-2 in their past five games so their stock is climbing. However, prior to that, Philly went 1-6-1 in their previous eight. Two of their past four victories occurred against the Rangers and Hurricanes. Alex Lyon was not even considered to be Philadelphia’s third string goaltender. They traded for Petr Mrazek and were ultimately forced to use Lyon because Mrazek has been so bad. Lyon has looked good at times but very shaky at other times. At this crucial time of the season when most teams are kicking into playoff mode, the Flyers are 4-6 over their past 10 games while surrendering three goals or more in nine of those and four goals or more six times. No goalie has been confirmed for Philadelphia but it’ll likely be Lyon v Lehtonen. If it’s Mrazrek, even better.
The Flyers benefitted from a Columbus loss over the weekend and their big last-minute goal to gain them a point against the Penguins. The Flyers currently sit tied with the Blue Jackets for the third place spot in the division with Columbus holding the edge in the final tiebreaker, which is goal differential. This is not about winning the division. The Flyers need at least eight points in their final six games to basically guarantee themselves a playoff spot. With Florida winning and the Devils playing just as hot as the Blue Jackets, the Flyers are going to need points and that’s precisely what is going to motivate the Stars here. Dallas can add misery to Philadelphia’s plight and it is still mathematically alive. Backed into a corner and under a lot of media and local scrutiny, Dallas may lose here but the timing to sell is way off. The timing to buy is dead on.
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DALLAS -½ +137 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.74)