Sports gambling handicappers know that the Flyers were a lightly regarded online sports gambling commodity but that they now have considerable momentum. Philadelphia had to win three of their final four regular season sports gambling matchups including the dramatic season finale against the New York Rangers to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the last team in.
The Rangers/Flyers showdown on the regular season’s final day was, in essence, a one game playoff and the Flyers won at home in a dramatic shootout. They have not been the same team since.
Philadelphia entered playoff action with the sports gambling reputation of having a solid offense and an average defense. Against the Devils in the first round of the playoffs Philadelphia’s defense tightened up considerably while the offense did its job against one of the NHL’s better defensive clubs.
The Flyers won the series four games to one with three consecutive wins at the close to finish off the Devils.
Center Claude Giroux was a major plus for Philadelphia with the hockey odds as he had 4 goals and 2 assists in the first round against the Devils. Giroux scored only 16 goals in 82 regular season games so his performance was a noticeable boost.
Another Flyers center, Mike Richards, had 2 goals and 6 assists with one of those goals being a game winner. Richards has been one of the top sports gambling assets for the Flyers as he scored 31 goals during the regular season.
Goaltender Brian Boucher was as big of a sports gambling asset as any in that first round upset of the Devils as he clearly outplayed his more highly touted counterpart, future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. Boucher had a 1.59 goals against average and a save percentage of .940 with 1 shutout.
Philadelphia now has the additional sports gambling intangible of confidence as they head into the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
“The relentless pressure, the relentless physicality is what ground them down,” said defenseman Chris Pronger. “Guys did whatever it took.”