Hockey Today - December 8

Hockey Today - December 8

Saturday's  NHL betting matchup notes

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs have dropped seven of their last nine overall meetings against Boston, going 1-4-0 at home while being outscored 14-4 in those defeats.

Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens

Though they've dropped two of three to the Canadiens this season, Carolina is 12-4-1 against Montreal since the 2004-05 lockout, including four wins in the first round of the 2006 playoffs en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

Atlanta Thrashers at Washington Capitals

Ovechkin has registered three multi-goal and four multi-point games in his last seven games against the Thrashers. Overall, he has nine goals - six on the power play and two game-winners - with two assists in that span.

Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets

Minnesota will head to Columbus, where it has lost eight straight since a 3-1 victory on Jan. 18, 2002. The Blue Jackets (13-10-5) have been tough at home this season, going 8-3-3.

New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning

Strong goaltending from Rick DiPietro has kept the Islanders in most games, but he has had limited success in his career against the Lightning, going 3-5-3 with a 2.57 GAA in 12 appearances.

He did, however, help the Islanders end an eight-game losing streak in the series by making 28 saves in a 4-0 victory at Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 1.

Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators

The Ducks (14-12-4) will be trying to keep their resurgent offense going in Nashville, where they lost twice last season. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 39 saves against Chicago last night, stopped 28 shots in the win over the Predators earlier this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Vancouver Canucks

Crosby - the NHL's reigning scoring champ and MVP - was 13 years old when the Penguins last defeated the Canucks on Nov. 3, 2000, Vancouver has since won five straight from Pittsburgh following a 16-game stretch in which the Canucks managed one win and one tie.

Phoenix Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings

Bryzgalov looks to lead the Coyotes look to their fourth win in as many games this season against their Pacific Division rivals on Saturday night when the teams meet at Staples Center.

Buffalo Sabres at San Jose Sharks

The Sabres are 0-4-1 with four ties in their last nine games at San Jose since a 7-1 victory in their first visit there on Nov. 12, 1991.

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Re: Hockey Today - December 8

Capitals recall forward Motzko from AHL.

NEWARK, N.J. -- The injury-depleted Washington Capitals recalled winger Joe Motzko from the AHL's Hershey Bears on Friday, hours before they faced the New Jersey Devils.

The Capitals, who own the fewest points in the NHL, put Motzko right into the lineup alongside Tomas Fleischmann and Nicklas Backstrom.

Washington was short up front with captain Chris Clark missing his third game because of a groin injury, and Boyd Gordon expected to be out for several weeks due to a broken right hand.

The Capitals were also without second-leading scorer Michael Nylander, sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Nylander, behind only Alex Ovechkin with 25 points, practiced Wednesday but not Thursday when the team said he was hurt and wouldn't play against the Devils.

Motzko, signed as a free agent this summer away from the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, was recalled by the Capitals earlier this season and had one assist in three games. He was leading Hershey with 15 points (10 goals, 5 assists) and was tied for fifth in the AHL with six power-play goals.

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Re: Hockey Today - December 8

Pens Will Miss Hat Trick

Saturday’s card in the NHL is loaded with nine games to choose from on the ol’ Center Ice package. And where would my manners be if I didn’t point out a couple of games to the betting public. I figured we’d take a look at two games that are out on the West Coast and maybe even chime in about the Grand Salami for the night, too.

The first item up for bids is Sidney Crosby’s Penguins making their final stop in Western Canada, playing at General Motors Place against Vancouver (16-10-2 straight up, ‘under’ 12-9-6).

This is a tough game to call because both clubs are playing well right now. Pittsburgh (14-12-2 SU, ‘u’ 16-12) has won three tilts in a row and six of its past seven currently. Crosby has played well in this recent stretch, registering 10 points in seven games. However, he’s not scored a goal since Nov. 30.

The Pens have been getting a lot of help from the lesser known skaters on the team, like Kris Letang. The second year blue liner has lit the lamp twice in his last three games. Now I don’t really think he’ll be a factor here, but he has been getting into the offensive mix lately.

The Canucks are no slouches either, winning five of their last six games. Of course, most of that success can be directly attributed to Roberto Luongo hanging out between the pipes. The former Panther has been great during this recent run, going 4-1 with a .80 GAA. That is not a misprint, but it is enhance by three consecutive shut outs.

I’m going to lean on Vancouver here for two reasons: quality of recent wins and a little triangle history. The Canucks have taken down Chicago, Anaheim, Columbus and Nashville. All of those squads are playoff caliber.

Then you have to take into consideration that the Penguins have not swept all three teams from Western Canada on the road in the past 10 years. It all points to the Canucks being the play.

Now let’s look at another Eastern Conference team that seems ripe for fading, the Sabres.

Buffalo (12-13-1 SU, ‘u’ 12-9-4) was starting to look like the team we saw win the Presidents’ Trophy last year, winning five of six games between Nov. 16 and Dec. 1. Then the Sabres had to make their pilgrimage to the West Coast.

The Sabres have looked silly in their first to matches in California, getting outscored 12-3 to go along with an 0-2 record. Now Lindy Ruff’s team finishes up their Pacific Division swing against San Jose (14-8-4 SU, ‘u’ 15-8-3) to complete the three-game losing streak.

The Sharks have won three straight at the time of this article being written, with a game on Friday against Phoenix. So let’s just call it four consecutive wins…Just kidding, Coyote fans…both of you.

So why am I taking San Jose to win this game outright? Well, the Sabres are not a terribly strong team on the West Coast…you could guess that by the way they’re playing on this current trip. And the Sharks are 2-0-2 in their last four home games against Buffalo.

I’m going to leave you with this little nugget that I’ve noticed in regards to the Grand Salami.

Normally I would think that the ‘under’ is your best bet when playing the total of all goals scored, but this season has blown a hole in that theory up to date. The ‘over’ is 36-32 this year, which is good.

What is surprising to me is how reliable high scoring is on Saturdays. Since the start of the 2006-2007 season, the Grand Salami has seen the ‘over’ go 23-13 on Saturday.

Just a little fun fact that I thought you should know.

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Re: Hockey Today - December 8

Thrashers claim Recchi off waivers from Pittsburgh

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Thrashers claimed veteran forward Mark Recchi off waivers on Saturday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins assigned the 39-year-old Recchi to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Thursday, and Recchi was placed on re-entry waivers Friday, meaning any team making a claim to him was only responsible for half of the remaining portion of his $1.75 million contract.

Thrashers spokesman Rob Koch said Saturday that the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Recchi is expected to join the team in Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers play at Washington on Saturday.

Recchi will probably have his first practice with the team on Tuesday.

Recchi played on Stanley Cup champion teams in 1991 with Pittsburgh and 2006 with Carolina. He also has had two stints with Philadelphia and played five years for Montreal.

Recchi had two goals and six assists in 19 appearances this season. He has 510 goals and 1,341 points in 1,357 games during his 19-year NHL career.

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