Philadelphia Flyers (28-27-13) at St. Louis Blues (42-19-5)
|Date & Time||Thursday March 12, 2015, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: St. Louis Blues -215 / Philadelphia Flyers +193 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was incredibly upset with his club’s effort on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars. The Flyers are still mathematically competing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but their recent three game losing streak has seemingly put an end to that. With a chance to keep pace in the race against another losing club on home ice, the Flyers came out strong, but ultimately fell flat. Luke Schenn gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead just 1:13 into the opening period, but that would be the only offensive of the night. Dallas responded with a first period goal and the two clubs stayed tied until 13:50 of the third period when Vernon Fiddler scored the game winner in the 2-1 win. Mason was strong, stopping 37 of the 39 shots he faced, but his frustration came from the fact that the Flyers were out shot 14-5 during the last 20 minutes. It’s been a rough year for the folks in Flyers orange and there might be a lot more changes in the off season. Under Paul Holmgren the Flyers were never afraid to shake up their roster and make changes to try and get better, but Ron Hextall might have a different approach. Hextall seems committed to building through the draft and finding young prospects that can play at this level. Hextall wasn’t foolish enough to believe that his club had a chance at the post season at the trading deadline, and he didn’t feel compelled by management to trade away assets in an attempt to make a futile run at a playoff spot. That’s a good thing for the Flyers organization because they finally have someone in charge who understands what it takes to be competitive consistently in this league. Mason is looking like a cornerstone goaltending for this club, now they need to shore up the defense and hope that their young players continue to grow.
The St. Louis Blues come into this game still looking to overtake the Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division. That didn’t seem possible a month ago when it looked like Nashville was cruising toward a division title, but the Predators have struggled lately and it has allowed St. Louis to get back in the race for the division and the President’s Trophy discussion. If nothing else the Blues want to make sure they wrap up home ice advantage for a potential first round match up with the Chicago Blackhawks. Tuesday night they hosted the Winnipeg Jets and found a way to win a game that they had no business ever losing. Vladimir Tarasenko broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period and Steve Ott and Jori Lehtera also added goals to give St. Louis a 4-1 lead heading into the third. In what appeared like it was going to be an easy win, the Blues watched as the Jets scored twice in an 11 second span and then tied the game with a short handed goal with under six minutes to play. But the Blues kept battling and with just over a minute remaining in regulation Barret Jackman got the winner with his second goal of the season. Jaden Schwartz also added a power play goal in the 5-4 win. Brian Elliot was shaky, but found a way to hold on for the win. Elliot allowed four goals on just 16 shots.
The Blues are a heavy favorite in this one and while I like them in this game it’s hard to find a reason to play them at this price. Philadelphia will need an above average effort to win this one.