Hockey Picks: Flyers at Sabres Game 4 Odds and Predictions
by Davis Schwab - 4/20/2011
The Philadelphia Flyers were able to recapture home-ice advantage with their 4-2 victory over Buffalo on Monday night as a +107 road underdog. The win gave them a 2-1 edge in this first round best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series heading into Game 4 on Wednesday night at the HSBC Center in Buffalo.
Philadelphia started this series by getting blanked 1-0 at home as a -160 home favorite last Thursday night, but finally found some offense in this past Saturday’s Game 2 with a 5-4 win as a 158 home favorite. The total stayed ‘under’ the 5.5 goal line in Game 1, but has gone ‘over’ in the past two.
The Flyers’ scoring drought actually extended back over the last 10 games of the regular season when they averaged just 2.5 goals a game after averaging 3.12 during the regular season, which was third-best in the NHL. Danny Briere has led the way with two goals, but eight different players have scored for Philadelphia in this series so far as the Flyers have done a great job of spreading the puck around.
Another key to the Flyers gaining the edge has been the play of goalie Brian Boucher. Since replacing Sergei Bobrovsky, who made his first NHL playoff start in this series, towards the end of the first period off Game 2, Boucher has stopped 55 of 58 shots for a save percentage of .948 after posting a save percentage of .916 in 29 starts during the regular season. Philadelphia has also remained fairly healthy through the series with defenseman Andreas Nodl the only player listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game.
Buffalo scored three goals in the first period of Saturday’s game, but since then it has only managed three goals in the last five periods of play. Thomas Vanek, who led Buffalo with 32 goals and 73 total points in the regular season, tallied two of those goals, but he has been held scoreless ever since. Patrick Kaleta, whose third period goal in Game 1 proved to be the game-winner, left Monday night’s game with an upper body injury and remains day-to-day for Game 4. Buffalo outshot the Flyers 37-25 in Game 3, but could only get two of them past Boucher.
Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller played lights-out in Game 1, stopping all 35 shots he faced. Since then, however, he has given up nine goals on 59 shots for a save percentage of .847 after averaging .916 on the year. Buffalo has been able to hold the Flyers’ power play in check with an 88.9 percent kill rate.
Flyers at Sabres Betting Odds and Line Movement
BetUS currently has the Flyers as a +105 road underdog and the Sabres as a -125 home favorite for this game. The total line has been set at 5.5 at -130 for the ‘under’.
Flyers at Sabres Betting Trends
Philadelphia is 12-8 as an underdog this season and the total has stayed ‘under’ in 54.9 percent of its games. Buffalo is 24-22 as a favorite and the total has gone ‘over’ in 51.2 percent of its games. Head-to-head, they split the four games they played in the regular season with each winning once at home and once of the road. The total has gone ‘over’ in six of the last seven meetings overall.
Hockey Picks: Flyers at Sabres Game 4 Predictions
Philadelphia stumbled into the postseason with a 3-4-3 record in its last 10 games, while Buffalo was one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch with just one loss in its last 10 games. Unfortunately for the Sabres, the playoffs are a whole different brand of hockey, and with the Flyers rediscovering their offense and Boucher getting hot in goal it all adds up to another Philly win that goes ‘over’ the total.
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