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Hockey Today - Dec.20

Hockey Today - Dec.20

Hockey Today - Dec. 20
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD


Thursday, Dec. 20

Phoenix at San Jose (10:30 p.m. EST).

The Coyotes are 4-1 on their six-game road trip. The Sharks have lost the first two of three straight division games.

STARS

Wednesday

-Maxim Afinogenov and Ryan Miller, Sabres. Afinogenov scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:17 left and Miller stopped 42 shots and Buffalo held off the New York Islanders 2-1.

-Robert Lang and Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks, each scored two goals to lead Chicago past Nashville 5-2.

-Mathieu Schneider, Ducks, scored with 1:29 left in overtime to give Anaheim a 2-1 win over Colorado.

ANOTHER RECORD BAN

New York Islanders forward Chris Simon was banned for 30 games Wednesday, drawing the longest suspension in NHL history again. Simon's latest infraction was for stomping on the skate of Pittsburgh's Jarkko Ruutu during a game last weekend. Simon missed the first five games of this season while completing a 25-game ban handed out in March for his two-handed stick attack to the face of New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg, which had been the previous record for an NHL suspension. He has had seven prior suspensions in his 15-season NHL career.

FOR STARTERS

Detroit tied the franchise record for fewest games (34) to reach 25 wins after a 6-2 rout of Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The Red Wings, who have won 10 of 11 while improving to 16-2-0-1 at home, matched the mark set by the 1995-96 club, who went on to set the NHL record with 62 victories.

MORE PUNISHMENTS

Carolina forward Craig Adams was suspended two games without pay Wednesday for hitting Toronto's Alex Steen with his stick on Tuesday night.

SLUMPING

Despite holding a 43-17 shots advantage, the New York Islanders lost for the seventh time in eight games (1-6-1) with Wednesday night's 2-1 setback to Buffalo. New York has an NHL-low 72 goals. ... Nashville has dropped seven of eight after a 5-2 loss at Chicago.

GET SHORTY

Patrick Sharp scored his league-leading sixth short-handed goal of the season and Chicago's NHL-best 11th in a 5-2 win over Nashville on Wednesday night.

HEADING HOME

Penguins forward Ryan Malone left the team Wednesday in Boston and returned to Pittsburgh to be treated by team doctors for an infected cut on his leg. The infection resulted in flu-like symptoms that caused Malone to sit out the Penguins' 4-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

FAREWELL

Minnesota sophomore forward Kyle Okposo is leaving college to sign with the New York Islanders, the school announced Wednesday. Okposo, selected seventh overall in the 2006 draft, is the eighth Gophers player to forgo remaining eligibility to turn pro since the end of the 2005-06 season. He had seven goals and four assists in 18 games for the Gophers this season.

SPEAKING

''I hope he's got it figured out. The reason he had four assists was he was shooting the puck. He's injured a lot. If he keeps playing, he's just going to get better.'' - Detroit coach Mike Babcock on defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who had a career-high four assists in Wednesday night's 6-2 win over Los Angeles.

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Thursday's NHL matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pittsburgh at Boston

Boston has dropped its last two meetings with the Penguins, but had won the previous nine games in the series.

Montreal at Washington

Alexander Ovechkin has two goals and six assists in eight career games against Montreal, though he hasn't registered a point in his past two against the Canadiens.

Ottawa at Atlanta

The Senators improved to 3-0 this season against the Thrashers with a 7-3 home victory on Saturday.

Toronto at Tampa Bay

The Leafs beat the Lightning 6-1 at home on Dec. 10. Toronto is outscoring Tampa Bay 27-12 during the six game winning streak in the series.

Carolina at Florida

The Hurricanes have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Panthers (16-16-2), including three of four this season.

N.Y. Rangers at Minnesota

New York has scored at least three goals in all eight meetings between these teams, winning six.

Detroit at St. Louis

The Central Division rivals have split two games this season, with each winning at home.

Dallas at Vancouver

Marty Turco has won seven straight at GM Place and is 8-1-0 there with a 1.11 GAA with two shutouts.

Phoenix at San Jose

Phoenix hasn't beaten San Jose since an 8-0 victory on Dec. 30 and has been outscored 34-7 in eight losses since then.

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Ottawa Senators vs. Atlanta Thrashers

- The Ottawa Senators and the Atlanta Thrashers will both be gunning for a victory on Thursday when they meet at Philips Arena.


The Senators won their sixth straight with a 3-2 win over the Bruins last time out, as -145 favorites. The five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Jason Spezza scored two goals for the Senators, and Luke Richardson had the other marker in the win. Martin Gerber made 26 saves for the victory.

Six different players scored the Atlanta Tuesday night, as they crushed Tampa Bay 6-2. Atlanta won the game as -115 favorites, and the eight goals made it OVER the posted over/under (6).

Garnet Exelby, Mark Recchi, Slava Kozlov, Chris Thorburn, Illya Kovalchuk and Pascal Dupuis tallied for Atlanta, and Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves in the win.

Current streak:
Ottawa has won 6 straight games.

Team records:
Ottawa: 22-7-3
Atlanta: 15-17-1

Ottawa most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Boston are 8-2
After playing Boston are 6-4
After a win are 7-3

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-4-1
Before playing NY Rangers are 4-6
After playing Tampa Bay are 5-5
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
Ottawa is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Ottawa is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Ottawa is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Atlanta
The total has gone OVER in 10 of Ottawa's last 14 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Atlanta's last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Atlanta's last 5 games at home
Atlanta is 3-5-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing at home against Ottawa
Atlanta is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Ottawa

Next up:
Ottawa home to Chicago, Saturday, December 22
Atlanta home to Montreal, Saturday, December 22

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Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals

- The fans at Verizon Center will be treated to a game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals when they take their seats on Thursday.

The Canadiens were upset 3-2 by the Panthers last time out, as -160 favorites. The five goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Andrei Markov had both goals for the Canadiens, while Carey Price made 27 saves in the loss.

The Capitals lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Red Wings last time out, as +230 road underdogs. The combined score made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin scored on the power play, and Jeff Schultz had the other marker. Olaf Kolzing stopped 27-of-30 shots in a losing effort.

Team records:
Montreal: 16-12-5
Washington: 13-18-3

Montreal most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
Before playing Atlanta are 7-3
After playing Florida are 4-6
After a loss are 6-4

Washington most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 1-8-1
Before playing Calgary are 5-5
After playing Detroit are 4-4-2
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Montreal is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Washington
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Montreal's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Montreal's last 6 games when playing Washington
Montreal is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Washington's last 10 games at home
Washington is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Washington's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Washington's last 6 games when playing Montreal

Next up:
Montreal at Atlanta, Saturday, December 22
Washington at NY Islanders, Saturday, December 22

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins

- The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins will both be gunning for a victory on Thursday when they meet at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Penguins were shut out 4-0 by the Rangers last time out, as +125 underdogs. The four goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Dany Sabourin stopped 27-of-31 shots in a losing effort.

The Bruins were defeated 3-2 by the Senators on Tuesday, as +125 home underdogs. The five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Chuck Kobasew and Milan Lucic tallied for the Bruins, and Alex Auld allowed three goals off 27 shots.

Team records:
Pittsburgh: 16-15-2
Boston: 18-12-3

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 3-7
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing NY Rangers are 4-6
After a loss are 5-5

Boston most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-6
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing Ottawa are 2-8
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Pittsburgh's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 8-4 SU in its last 12 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Boston's last 6 games
Boston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh
Boston is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games when playing Pittsburgh
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Boston's last 5 games at home

Next up:
Pittsburgh home to NY Islanders, Friday, December 21
Boston home to St. Louis, Saturday, December 22

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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers

- The fans at BankAtlantic Center will be treated to a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers when they take their seats on Thursday.

Carolina scored two goals in the last minute-and-a-half and Eric Staal beat Vesa Toskala in OT Tuesday night, as the Hurricanes defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2. Carolina won the game as -140 favorites, while the five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (6).

Cory Stillman and Ray Whitney scored in regulation, and John Grahame made 34 saves for the win in net.

Stephen Weiss scored the game-winning goal Tuesday night, as the Panthers defeated the Canadiens 3-2. The Panthers won the game as +140 underdogs, and the five goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Jozef Stumpel and Brett McLean had the other goals for the Panthers, and Tomas Vokoun made 23 saves for the win.

Current streak:
Carolina has won 2 straight games.
Florida has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Carolina: 18-14-3
Florida: 16-16-2

Carolina most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 2-8
Before playing Boston are 5-5
After playing Toronto are 7-3
After a win are 3-7

Florida most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing NY Rangers are 6-4
After playing Montreal are 2-8
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Carolina is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games when playing Florida
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Carolina's last 10 games on the road
Carolina is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Florida
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Carolina's last 9 games when playing on the road against Florida
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Florida's last 6 games
Florida is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Florida's last 9 games when playing at home against Carolina
Florida is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games at home

Next up:
Carolina at Tampa Bay, Saturday, December 22
Florida home to Toronto, Saturday, December 22

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Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

- The fans at St. Pete Times Forum will be treated to a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning when they take their seats on Thursday.

The Maple Leafs allowed two goals in the final two minutes in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Hurricanes last time out, as +120 underdogs. The five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (6).

Boyd Devereaux and Tomas Kaberle tallied for the Maple Leafs and Toskala made 35 saves in a losing effort.

Tampa Bay were pounded 6-2 by Atlanta last time out, as +105 underdogs on the road. The eight goals made it OVER the posted over/under (6).

Jason Ward scored shorthanded, and Vaclav Prospal netted a power play marker in the loss.

Current streak:
Toronto has lost 2 straight games.
Tampa Bay has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Toronto: 14-13-7
Tampa Bay: 14-17-3

Toronto most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
Before playing San Jose are 3-3-2
After playing Carolina are 6-4
After a loss are 4-6

Tampa Bay most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
Before playing St. Louis are 3-7
After playing Atlanta are 2-8
After a loss are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
Toronto is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Tampa Bay
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games
Toronto is 15-4-1 SU in its last 20 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay
Toronto is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Tampa Bay's last 8 games at home
Tampa Bay is 4-15-1 SU in its last 20 games when playing at home against Toronto
Tampa Bay is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games
Tampa Bay is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Toronto

Next up:
Toronto at Florida, Saturday, December 22
Tampa Bay home to Carolina, Saturday, December 22

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New York Rangers vs. Minnesota Wild

- The New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at Xcel Energy Center.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 18 shots Tuesday, as the Rangers shut out the Penguins 4-0. The Rangers won the game as -145 favorites, while the four goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Scott Gomez scored twice, while Martin Straka and Chris Drury added singles in the win. Michal Rozsival pocketed three assists for the Rangers.

Brian Rolston scored the game-winning goal at 18:52 of the third period, to cap a 3-2 come-from-behind win for the Wild over the Predators last time out. The Wild won the game as -160 home favorites, while the five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Marian Gaborik and Eric Belanger scored the other goals. Josh Harding made 30 saves in the win.

Current streak:
Minnesota has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
New York: 17-13-3
Minnesota: 19-12-2

New York most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 2-8
Before playing Florida are 7-3
After playing Pittsburgh are 8-2
After a win are 5-5

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
Before playing Florida are 2-2-2
After playing Nashville are 2-8
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 6 of the NY Rangers last 8 games on the road
NY Rangers are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games when playing Minnesota
NY Rangers are 6-3 SU in their last 9 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of the NY Rangers last 6 games
Minnesota is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
Minnesota is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota's last 6 games at home
Minnesota is 2-6 SU in their last 8 games when playing NY Rangers

Next up:
NY Rangers at Colorado, Friday, December 21
Minnesota home to Detroit, Saturday, December 22

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Detroit Red Wings vs. St. Louis Blues

- Divisional bragging rights will be on the line on Thursday when the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues meet at Scottrade Center.

The Red Wings had six different goal scorers in a 6-2 trouncing of the Kings last time out, as -320 favorites. The eight goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Henrik Zetterberg, Jiri Hudler, Tomas Holmstrom, Daniel Cleary, Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula. Niklas Kronwall pocketed four assists in the victory.

The Blues lost to Calgary 5-3 as a -115 favorite last time out. The eight goals score went OVER the posted over/under total (5).

Andy McDonald had a goal and an assist for St. Louis and Paul Kariya collected a pair of assists.

Current streak:
Detroit has won 3 straight games.
St. Louis has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Detroit: 25-6-3
St. Louis: 16-12-2

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Edmonton are 5-5
After playing Los Angeles are 4-6
After a win are 8-2

St. Louis most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 3-7
Before playing Tampa Bay are 4-4-1
After playing Calgary are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Detroit is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Detroit's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Detroit's last 16 games when playing St. Louis
The total has gone OVER in 4 of St. Louis's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of St. Louis's last 16 games when playing Detroit
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of St. Louis's last 8 games when playing at home against Detroit
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of St. Louis's last 7 games at home

Next up:
Detroit at Minnesota, Saturday, December 22
St. Louis at Boston, Saturday, December 22

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Dallas Stars vs. Vancouver Canucks

- The Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at General Motors Place.

Sergei Zubov's shootout winner lifted the Stars to a 2-1 victory over the Oilers last time out, as -125 favorites. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Jeff Halpern scored the lone Stars goal in regulation, and Marty Turco was outstanding with 33 saves.

Roberto Luongo made 31 saves for the shutout on Tuesday night, as the Canucks pounded the Devils 5-0. The five goals were a PUSH against the posted over/under (5).

Markus Naslund scored twice for the Canucks, and singles came off the sticks of Aaron Miller, Ryan Kesler and Trevor Linden.

Current streak:
Dallas has won 4 straight games.

Team records:
Dallas: 19-11-4
Vancouver: 18-12-4

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Los Angeles are 6-4
After playing Edmonton are 3-7
After a win are 8-2

Vancouver most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 9-1
Before playing San Jose are 5-5
After playing New Jersey are 3-3-1
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Dallas's last 6 games when playing Vancouver
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Dallas's last 5 games on the road
Dallas is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Dallas is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Vancouver is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Vancouver's last 6 games when playing Dallas
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Vancouver's last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Vancouver's last 7 games when playing at home against Dallas

Next up:
Dallas at Calgary, Friday, December 21
Vancouver at Phoenix, Saturday, December 22

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Phoenix Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks

- If familiarity breeds contempt, there should be animosity aplenty on Thursday when the Phoenix Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks meet at HP Pavilion.

The Coyotes erased a two-goal deficit and came back to edge the Flyers 3-2 last time out, as +140 underdogs. The combined five goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Keith Yandle, Fredrik Sjostrom and Peter Mueller with the game-winning goal scored for the Coyotes. Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves in the win.

The Sharks were shut out 2-0 by the Ducks last time out, as -145 favorites. The final score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 14-of-16 shots faced in the loss.

Current streak:
Phoenix has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Phoenix: 16-16-0
San Jose: 18-11-4

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-4-1
Before playing Chicago are 4-6
After playing Philadelphia are 4-4-2
After a win are 6-4

San Jose most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 3-6-1
Before playing Toronto are 2-2-3
After playing Anaheim are 5-5
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
Phoenix is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Phoenix is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Phoenix's last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Phoenix's last 6 games when playing on the road against San Jose
San Jose is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Phoenix
San Jose is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Phoenix
San Jose is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of San Jose's last 12 games at home

Next up:
Phoenix home to Vancouver, Saturday, December 22
San Jose home to Anaheim, Saturday, December 22

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