Hockey Today - Mar 24

Hockey Today - Mar 24

Hockey Today

Minnesota at Edmonton (9 p.m. EDT). The Oilers, winners of 11 of 14, continue their late playoff push when they host the Northwest Division-leading Wild.

STAR

-Patrick Kane, Blackhawks, scored 1:09 into overtime to lift Chicago to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis.

ROAD WOES

The St. Louis Blues lost to Chicago 4-3 in overtime on Sunday to finish their season-high, nine-game road trip 1-7-1.

FLYING

Martin Biron remained perfect against the Islanders this season, stopping 32 shots to beat them for the sixth time in Philadelphia's 4-1 win Sunday night. The Flyers snapped a tie with Boston to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.

ELIMINATED

The New York Islanders were eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race Sunday after a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia. At least one of the three Northeast Division contenders closest to them will finish with more points, preventing them from finishing eighth.

SPEAKING

``They know what it takes to win, to battle. Whether we get there (the playoffs) of not, they'll prove a lot of people wrong.'' - Chicago coach Denis Savard on rookie-of-the-year contender Patrick Kane and James Wisniewski, who scored his first goal in 18 games to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-3 overtime win against St. Louis on Sunday.

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Sidney Crosby may return to Penguins on Monday for 1st time since March 9
March 23, 2008

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Sidney Crosby plans to accompany the Pittsburgh Penguins on their brief road trip that starts Monday and could play for the first time since March 9.

The Penguins meet the New York Islanders on Monday night and the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday before returning home to face the Islanders again Thursday.

Crosby took part in the Penguins' pregame skate Saturday but did not play during their 7-1 victory over New Jersey that moved them into the Atlantic Division lead.

Crosby was the NHL's leading scorer when he badly sprained his right ankle while sliding hard into the boards Jan. 18 against Tampa Bay. He missed 21 games before coming back against the Lightning on March 4, playing three games until pain returned in his ankle. He sat out Pittsburgh's last five games.

``I feel like I'm better off than I was the first time I came back,'' Crosby said. ``It feels stronger.''

Marian Hossa, the Penguins' newly acquired right wing, will skate on a line with Crosby, but coach Michel Therrien isn't saying who will play on the left side.

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders

- The Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders will meet on the ice at Nassau Coliseum on Monday in a battle of division rivals.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Malone scored twice on Saturday, leading their Penguins to a 7-1 thrashing of the Devils. The Penguins won the game as -160 favorites, and the eight goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5).

Jarkko Ruutu, Pascal Dupuis and Petr Sykora had the other goals for the Penguins.

The Islanders lost to Philadelphia 4-1 as a +190 underdog last time out. The five goals scored fell UNDER the posted over/under total (5.5).

Miroslav Satan scored the Islanders' lone goal, while Joey MacDonald stopped 22-of-26 shots in the loss.

Current streak:
Pittsburgh has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Pittsburgh: 43-25-7
New York: 33-36-7

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Monday are 5-5
Before playing Ottawa are 3-7
After playing New Jersey are 8-2
After a win are 6-4

New York most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing New Jersey are 6-4
After playing Philadelphia are 3-7
After a loss are 3-7

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

Next up:
Pittsburgh at New Jersey, Tuesday, March 25
NY Islanders at Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 27

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Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens

- The fans at Bell Centre will be treated to a game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens when they take their seats on Monday.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

The Senators lost 5-4 to the Maple Leafs as a huge -250 favorite on Saturday. The nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (6).

Daniel Alfredsson, Cory Stillman, Martin Lapointe and Dany Heatley scored for the Senators in the loss.

Saku Koivu scored on the last shot of the shootout at the Bell Centre on Saturday, as the Canadiens defeated the Bruins 3-2. The Canadiens won the game as -180 favorites, and the combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn scored in regulation for the Canadiens. Carey Price made 33 saves in the win.

Current streak:
Montreal has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Ottawa: 41-27-7
Montreal: 42-24-10

Ottawa most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing Boston are 7-3
After playing Toronto are 4-6
After a loss are 5-5

Montreal most recently:
When playing on Monday are 5-5
Before playing Buffalo are 8-2
After playing Boston are 5-5
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Ottawa is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing Montreal
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Ottawa's last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Ottawa's last 8 games when playing Montreal
The total has gone UNDER in 13 of Ottawa's last 18 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Montreal's last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Montreal's last 8 games when playing Ottawa
Montreal is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Montreal's last 7 games

Next up:
Ottawa at Buffalo, Tuesday, March 25
Montreal at Buffalo, Friday, March 28

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Calgary Flames vs. Colorado Avalanche

- Divisional bragging rights will be on the line on Monday when the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche meet at Pepsi Center.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

Jarome Iginla scored a hat trick to lead the Flames in a 5-4 victory over the Wild on Saturday, as -155 favorites at home. The nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5).

Dion Phaneuf and Matthew Lombardi scored the other Flames markers. Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves in the win.

Milan Hejduk led Colorado with a goal and an assist in its 7-5 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Edmonton won as +110 home underdogs as the teams played over the 5.5-goal total posted by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Calgary has won 2 straight games.
Colorado has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Calgary: 39-26-10
Colorado: 39-31-6

Calgary most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing Los Angeles are 5-5
After playing Minnesota are 7-3
After a win are 5-5

Colorado most recently:
When playing on Monday are 3-7
Before playing Buffalo are 8-8-1
After playing Edmonton are 5-5
After a loss are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Calgary's last 6 games when playing Colorado
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Calgary's last 14 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Calgary's last 7 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Calgary's last 7 games when playing on the road against Colorado
Colorado is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Colorado's last 6 games when playing Calgary
Colorado is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Calgary
Colorado is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games when playing Calgary

Next up:
Calgary home to Vancouver, Tuesday, March 25
Colorado home to Vancouver, Wednesday, March 26

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Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers

- Divisional bragging rights will be on the line on Monday when the Minnesota Wild and the Edmonton Oilers meet at Rexall Place.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

The Wild were defeated 5-4 by the Flames last time out, as +135 underdogs. The nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5).

Benoit Pouliot and Kim Johnsson had a pair of goals each for the Wild.

Marty Reasoner had a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Colorado Avalanche 7-5 on Saturday.

Edmonton won as +110 home underdogs as the teams played over the 5.5-goal total posted by sportsbooks.

Team records:
Minnesota: 40-27-9
Edmonton: 38-33-5

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Florida are 3-3-2
After playing Calgary are 5-5
After a loss are 3-7

Edmonton most recently:
When playing on Monday are 5-5
Before playing Detroit are 8-2
After playing Colorado are 8-2
After a win are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota's last 5 games when playing Edmonton
Minnesota is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games when playing Edmonton
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Minnesota's last 9 games on the road
Minnesota is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games when playing on the road against Edmonton
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Edmonton's last 5 games when playing Minnesota
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Edmonton's last 8 games at home
Edmonton is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games at home
Edmonton is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games

Next up:
Edmonton at Minnesota, Wednesday, March 26

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Re: Hockey Today - Mar 24

Monday's best NHL bets
Covers.com


Minnesota at Edmonton +110 5


The Edmonton Oilers are playing their most consistent hockey of the season - they just hope they have enough time to claim a playoff spot.

The Oilers will be trying to inch closer to postseason position on Monday when they host the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild.

Edmonton (38-33-5) has won 11 of its last 14 games, including Saturday's 7-5 victory over Colorado. The Oilers are in last place in the Northwest, but have moved within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Sam Gagner scored twice on Saturday as Edmonton won despite blowing a three-goal lead heading into the third period.

"I'm down to my last nerve,'' coach Craig MacTavish said. "It wasn't easy. It should have been a lot easier than it was. We had a great start and then we lacked a little composure in those key situations. Perhaps the youthfulness comes into play. The good thing is that we are getting the experience and still winning the games.''

The Oilers scored at least seven goals for the second time in three games, including an 8-4 win over Phoenix on Tuesday, and bounced back from Thursday's 4-1 loss to Vancouver. Not counting shootout goals, Edmonton has averaged 3.57 goals during its 14-game run.

For the season, the Oilers are scoring just 2.68 goals per game.

"We had two great periods, scored a lot of goals and then the first 10 of the third they scored three right away and had the momentum," Marc Pouliot, who had a goal and an assist, told the Oilers' official team Web site. "It was a high scoring game, but we'll take it for sure."

Pick: Oilers

Ottawa at Montreal -135 6

The Montreal Canadiens have been dominated virtually all season when they've faced the Ottawa Senators.

But the Senators would gladly trade that success for the Canadiens' spot in the Northeast Division.

Montreal looks to move one step closer to its first division title since 1991-92 when it hosts second-place Ottawa on Monday.

The competition between the Eastern Conference-leading Canadiens (42-24-10) and the Senators (41-27-7) has been extremely tight at the top of the division over the past few months, with Montreal's current five-point lead its largest advantage of the season.

But when the teams have faced each other on the ice, it's been Ottawa that has enjoyed a decided advantage. The Senators have won five of the six meetings this season and eight of the last nine overall. They've outscored the Canadiens 9-1 in their two most recent games, including a 3-0 victory at the Bell Centre on March 13.

That victory was the Senators' third straight and tied the teams atop the division, but Ottawa has since lost two of three while Montreal has gone 3-0-1.

The Senators held a 4-3 lead at home against Toronto on Saturday night heading into the third period, but gave up two goals in 41 seconds on their way to a 5-4 loss.

"We know we can play better," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who scored his 38th goal. "If we want to win down the stretch and in the playoffs we can't give up goals like that."

The line of Spezza centering Alfredsson and Dany Heatley has been the NHL's most productive this season, combining for 106 goals. But the trio hasn't played any better than when they've faced the Canadiens.

Spezza has seven goals, Alfredsson four and Heatley three against Montreal in only five games apiece, and they've combined for 36 points.

"They're probably one of the best lines in the NHL," Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said after watching that line score every Senators goal in a 6-1 loss on Feb. 9.

Price has lost both of his starts against Ottawa this season, but the rookie has been playing well lately as Montreal has taken control of the division. He's 4-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average in his last six starts.

The comfort of home ice has made a big difference recently for Price. He's 4-1-0 with a 1.38 GAA in his last five starts in Montreal, compared to 2-2-0 with a 3.26 GAA in four road starts this month.

Pick: Senators

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Re: Hockey Today - Mar 24

Today's NHL analysis

Hot Teams
-- Penguins won seven of their last nine games.
-- Canadiens are 9-4 in their last thirteen games. Senators won three of their last four home games.
-- Oilers won eleven of their last fourteen games.
-- Flames won three of their last four games.

Cold Teams
-- Islanders lost nine of their last ten games.
-- Minnesota lost four of its last five games.
-- Colorado lost last four games, outscored 16-9.

Series Records
-- Penguins won four of last five against the Islanders.
-- Senators won eight of last nine against Montreal.
-- Home team won last seven Minnesota-Edmonton games.
-- Flames won three of last four against Colorado.

Totals
-- Over is 4-0-1 in last five Pittsburgh games; last four Islander games stayed under the total.
-- Five of last seven Montreal games stayed under the total.
-- Over is 13-4 in last seventeen Edmonton games.
-- Under is 11-4-1 in last sixteen Calgary games.

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