Philadelphia Flyers (42-30-10) at Boston Bruins (54-19-9)
|Date & Time||Wednesday October 8, 2014, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Boston Bruins -168 / Philadelphia Flyers +153 --- Over/Under:
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The Flyers look to get back to the postseason this year and their journey begins against the perennial Stanley Cup contenders from Boston on Wednesday night.
The Philadelphia Flyers had one of the most dangerous rosters in hockey a couple of seasons ago and their stock sky rocketed after they ousted Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs but since then they have taken a step back and haven’t had the same success on the ice. The Flyers are led up front by Claude Giroux who is certainly one of the best talents in hockey and while his supporting cast has some pieces in the form of Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek the help is pretty thin beyond that and I think the Flyers will be hard pressed to make the playoffs this season. The back end is quite weak despite grabbing Michal Del Zotto and the tandem of Steve Mason and Ray Emery isn’t that bad but I think as a whole this Flyers team is going to struggle to compete in the long run against the likes of Pittsburgh, New York, New Jersey, and the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers don’t have a favourable matchup on opening night as they have to skate into the TD Garden to square off against a Bruins team that underachieved in last year’s playoffs and is likely in their last hurrah with this group of players to win another Cup.
The Bruins bowed out in dramatic fashion against the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs last season and now must face some high scrutiny from the Boston media and fan base as they begin another NHL season. Boston always seems to draw interest from the free agent crop but they didn’t land any big fish this offseason and instead are relying on their core group of players to get things done which signifies to me that this season will be a changing of the guard and that the Bruins are anticipating an overhaul in the very near future. Boston still has guys like Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, and David Krejci but beyond that their forward unit isn’t overly intimidating on paper as guys like Gregory Campbell, Dan Paille, and Carl Soderberg will be leaned on for the secondary offense which I’m not entirely sure they’re ready for. Also, Zdeno Chara is now 37 and will likely take a step back in terms of ice time which means Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug must assume a larger role with the team’s blue line which will be an interesting development to watch. As for the season opener for both teams I don’t think they are a far apart as this line indicates but I don’t have any confidence pulling the trigger with Philly on the road so I think the best option is to play the total and I think it stays under. Boston’s physicality and strength in the two way game will