- Just one point separates the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division
- The Flyers have won nine of 10 and have seen their average Metro odds shorten from +4333 to +140 in just under three weeks
- Who’s the best bet to win the division?
On February 18th, the Philadelphia Flyers were clinging to a Wild Card spot in the East. Just one point separated them and ninth place.
Fast forward three weeks and the Flyers are breathing down the Washington Capitals’ neck for first in the Metro division. That’s because Philadelphia has won nine of its last 10 to move just a point behind Washington with 13 games remaining.
2020 Metro Division Odds
|New York Islanders||+5000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+15000|
|New York Rangers||+15000|
Odds taken on March 10th.
Prior to the Flyers’ impressive run, their average 2020 Metro Division odds were +4333. That price was longer than the Capitals, Penguins, Hurricanes and Islanders. Now their average odds to win the division sit at +140, which is neck-and-neck with Washington (+128).
Philadelphia did suffer its first loss since February 15th on Tuesday (2-0 to the Bruins), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they’ve been the hottest team in hockey. They racked up nine straight wins from February 18th to March 7th, including victories over division rivals the Capitals, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets twice.
CAHTAH HAHT 🔶
— NHL (@NHL) March 10, 2020
Much of the credit goes to goaltender Carter Hart, who has been lights out since returning from an abdominal injury. The 21-year-old is 9-2-0 in his last 11 with a .934 save percentage. He was in net for seven of the nine wins during Philly’s hot streak, but he isn’t the only Flyer who’s elevated his game.
Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek each put up 13 points during the win streak, while three others, including captain Claude Giroux, averaged a point per game. Not to be outdone, prized offseason signing Kevin Hayes picked up his play scoring six time in nine games, after notching just three goals in his previous 13.
Pump the Brakes?
Those still not sold on Philadelphia are quick to point out the level of competition during their win streak wasn’t exactly elite. Yes, they beat Washington, but the Caps were the only top-six team during that stretch in either conference. The Flyers loss to the Bruins on Tuesday provides Philly critics with extra ammo, as does the Flyers daunting next five games.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 11, 2020
Philadelphia will play five straight teams that currently occupy a playoff spot including the defending champion St. Louis Blues. These next five contests will make or break the Flyers’ division title hopes, especially given how easy Washington’s remaining schedule is.
The Capitals have been a model of inconsistency since the All-Star break, but their final 13 games offer them a chance to get right. Washington will play seven games versus teams outside the playoff picture, and will face just one team that ranks in the top-four in either conference.
boyz are buzzin! pic.twitter.com/eehYlbV611
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 10, 2020
Four of their remaining contests are versus the bottom three teams in the East, who have a combined .330 winning percentage. If the Caps take care of business against the cellar dwellers, and merely play .500 hockey versus their tougher opponents, that should be enough to secure the Metro crown.
The division race may be tight now, but things could change in a hurry this week. Washington’s next two games are versus Detroit and Chicago, who have a combined .345 winning percentage, while Philadelphia’s next two contests are versus Tampa Bay and Minnesota, who have a combined .561 winning percentage.
By this time next week, the Caps lead over the Flyers could be much higher, which will make their division odds much shorter. So buy Washington now before the value disappears.
Pick: Washington Capitals (+110)
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