Philadelphia (0-0) at Washington (0-0)
When: Thursday, April 14th 2016
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports
The Washington Capitals, who own the best record in the NHL, will take on the upstart Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series. Washington finished with 120 points – 11 better than the next team – Dallas. The last time the Capitals won the President’s Cup Trophy was 2010, but were promptly eliminated by eighth-seeded Montreal. Captain Alex Ovechkin reached the 50-goal plateau for the seventh time in his career this season, with two of those goals coming against the Flyers. The three-time Hart Trophy winner has tormented the Flyers in his career to the tune of 48 points (31 goals, 17 assists) in 41 career meetings. Goaltender Braden Holtby tied Martin Brodeur’s NHL record with 48 wins in a season, but managed only two at Philadelphia’s expense and owns a 6-4-6 mark with a 2.76 GAA versus the Flyers.
While the Capitals had plenty of time to prepare for the playoffs, Philadelphia punched its ticket during its penultimate game of the regular season over the Penguins. The Flyers ended the season with a 15-5-3 mark over the final 23 games to leap over four teams and secure the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Included in that stretch was a 2-1 shootout win over the Capitals on March 30th that evened the four-game regular-season series at two victories apiece. Wayne Simmonds scored seven times in his last seven games to set a career high in goals (32) and matched his personal best with 60 points. Captain Claude Giroux recorded a team-high four points (one goal, three assists) in four meetings with the Capitals this season and has 31 (15 goals, 16 assists) in 29 career matchups.
The Capitals always seem to choke in the Playoffs despite how good of a regular season they had. The Flyers are coming in red hot and I believe they’ll take one of these first two games on the road as 2-1 underdogs.
Pick: Flyers +200