Stanley Cup Odds 2012: Why Philadelphia Flyers Are Still a Threat
The odds are now stacked against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Literally, that is—if you go to Bovada.lv, they are currently 16:1 to win the Stanley Cup and 8:1 to win the NHL's Eastern Conference, as low as the odds currently go for any team still alive.
Losing superstar Claude Giroux for Game 5 due to a suspension doesn't help. Nor does losing three straight games to the New Jersey Devils, who have dominated the boards with their ferocious forecheck and have effectively bottled up the Flyers defensively.
The series has been hotly contested, sure, but the Devils seem to have the upper hand with momentum squarely on their side.
But it isn't over yet.
It wasn't over two years ago, when the Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit to the Boston Bruins en route to a Stanley Cup berth.
For once, the team doesn't find itself in trouble because of poor goaltending. In fact, the Flyers have squandered consecutive fine efforts by goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
No, it's been something far simpler than that—the Devils have simply worked harder and more effectively on the boards.
Simple dump-ins remain in the Philadelphia zone for far too long and lead to scoring opportunities. The Flyers' own forecheck—so effective against the Pittsburgh Penguins—are quickly stymied by goalie Martin Brodeur's clever puck-handling or are cycled out of the zone by New Jersey's defensemen.
It will take a renewed effort—and perhaps a better strategy—to reverse the team's fortunes on the boards. But that is what it will likely take for the Flyers to mount a comeback in this series.
The Flyers will...
And it's totally possible. The Flyers have the talent to reverse their fortunes.
But will they?
Finding out the answer is why we watch. Why we continue to cheer as fans despite long odds. Can our team rebound when everything suggests they should be down for the count? Can they be resilient enough to pull out an epic comeback?
I say this Flyers team can do it, Giroux or not for Game 5.
We'll find out tonight.
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