New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers Series Odds
New Jersey -240
These two Atlantic Division rivals are reunited in the first round of the playoffs. The Devils fended off the Penguins for the division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference while the Flyers had to win a shootout against the Rangers just to secure a playoff spot on the last day of the regular season.
The Devils had to be watching the Rangers/Flyers game on Sunday with a rooting interest. While they have had no problem dispatching the Rangers this season, the Flyers have given the Devils all kinds of trouble. The Flyers are amazingly 5-1 against the Devils despite being underdogs in all but one of those wins. They will likely be underdogs for most of the series. In the first game of the series New Jersey is -180.
A big reason why New Jersey is the favorite and Atlantic Division champ and the Flyers had to sneak into the playoffs is Martin Brodeur. The Devils have him, the Flyers don’t. Brodeur has won 45 games in net for the Devils, no goalie for Philadelphia has won more than 16 and the likely starter for this series, Brian Boucher is 9-18-1-2 since taking over for the injured Ray Emery. However do not overlook the Flyers just because of goalie play.
The physicality of the series is likely to play into the hands of the Flyers. They were able to get under the Devil’s skin in their regular season meetings and if the series is called close by the officials then Philadelphia also has the advantage on the power play (ranked third in the NHL) and the penalty kill (ranked 12th in the NHL).
Zack Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk give the Devils weapons the normally defensive-minded team did not have in the past but Philadelphia counters with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, two capable scorers in their own right and defensive goons Chris Pronger and Daniele Carcillo.
Anytime a team had to win on the last day of the regular season just to get into the playoffs, you know they are playing with nothing to lose. This has all the makings of a first round upset.
New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers Series Prediction
Philadelphia in six
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