Hockey Today - Mar 28

Hockey Today - Mar 28

Playoff Races
By Judd Hall

The playoffs are just a little over a week away, but the atmosphere is definitely present in several rinks around the NHL right now. There are six teams within three points of one another for the eighth seed in both the Eastern and Western Conference races. We’ve even got a tight race for the No. 1 spot in the East between the Penguins and Canadiens.

Friday’s slate has eight tilts for us to enjoy…four of them have major postseason implications.

Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Nashville at Columbus

The Preds looked like they were headed for April hockey just a few weeks ago. Then they dropped six of eight tilts from March 6th to the 20th…three of those defeats coming against playoff eligible teams, too. As bad as it looked though, Nashville has won two straight contests to pull within just two points of the eighth and final playoff spot.

If anything has been good for bettors looking to playing Nashville recently is that the ‘under’ has gone 5-2 in its last seven matches.

Luckily for the Predators, they’re getting to face off against a Columbus squad that just snapped a three-game losing skid with a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks. Of course, you better win if you out shoot the opposition by a 36-17 margin.

The Blue Jackets have seen the ‘under’ go on a 5-0 run.

These Central Division rivals met in Music City USA last Tuesday with the Predators claiming victory in a 3-0 shutout. Nashville got a lamp lighter out of Jason Arnott in the first period, his 28th of the season. And the Preds stifled Columbus’s power play to go scoreless in six chances.

Nashville has owned the Jackets, going 9-0-1 in the last 10 meetings. The ‘under’ went 6-4 during that stretch. Consider taking the ‘under’ in this matchup as well since Columbus has seen it go 21-15 when following up a win after a day off this year.

The puck will drop on this tilt at 7:05 pm EDT.

Montreal at Buffalo

This tilt is a matter of which team wants it more. Montreal is currently one point behind the Pens for the top spot in the East. Meanwhile, the Sabres are clinging to a dream of making the playoffs a year after winning the Presidents’ Trophy.

The Habs have won four of their last five games, outscoring opponents 20-13 in that time. All is not good for Montreal right now as blue-liner Mike Komisarek is “out” with a lower body injury. The reports show he’ll miss the rest of the regular season and maybe the first week of the playoffs.

Komisarek’s injury means the Canadiens will be susceptible to more offensive pressure. That was apparent in Montreal’s 7-5 loss to the Senators. Four of Ottawa’s goals came in the final period of play. They’ll need Roman Hamrlik and company to step it up for the final two weeks of the season.

Montreal has seen the ‘over’ go 3-1 in its last four matches.

Buffalo’s playoff hopes are almost in tatters right now after falling to the Sens last Tuesday, 6-3. The Sabres looked solid for the first 53 minutes of the game, holding a 3-1 lead…then the bottom dropped out. Ottawa lit the lamp five times in the final seven minutes of regulation to claim the win.

Ryan Miller can’t have helped matters much either with his play between the pipes, losing his last two starts by giving up a total of nine goals. The plus for the gambling public is the Sabres have watched the ‘over’ go 6-2 in their last eight games.

The season series is tied at three wins apiece…However, Buffalo has won three of its last four head-to-head meetings with the Habs. The ‘under’ has gone 3-2 in the last five tilts.

This game is set to start at 7:35 pm EDT.

Vancouver at Minnesota

The Canucks must like to live dangerously as they’ve slowly slid down the standings after dropping three straight games. Now Vancouver is perched in the No. 8 spot in the West. Their latest defeat saw Roberto Luongo give up five goals in just 32 minutes of work in what became a 6-3 decision in favor of Colorado.

Minnesota hasn’t been too much further away from what the Canucks have been suffering through, falling in three of its last four fixtures. The Wild allowed 16 goals during this slump…and they score about 2.6 goals per game right now, so that just won’t get it done right now.

The Wild have seen the ‘under’ go 3-1 at home recently.

This has not been a series that’s been friendly to the home club as the road squad has posted a 7-3 record in the last 10 scuffles.

You can catch this matchup on your NHL Center Ice package at 8:05 pm EDT.

Edmonton at Colorado

The second tilt on the list of Northwest Division foes perhaps has more riding on it than the other. Edmonton has come alive, winning five of its past seven matches. Four of those victories came against playoff caliber clubs in the West. What’s impressive is the Oilers are making this run without Shawn Horcoff, who’s been out since the beginning of February. They’ve watched the ‘under’ hit in their last two games.

Colorado can use a win here just as much as the Oilers, too. The Avs sit in seventh place at 88 points. A victory will push them into a virtual dead heat with the Flames for the No. 5 position in the West. Although, they do need Marek Svatos to come through with some goals of his own. Tough to say about a guy that has a six-game point streak going on, but he’s not scored a goal since Feb. 22.

The home club has won the last four meetings of these two division rivals. And the Avalanche have claimed victories in their last three games against the Oilers at the Pepsi Center.

The ‘over’ has gone 5-2 in the previous seven fixtures.

This match will begin at 9:05 pm EDT.

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Morrison out with torn ACL, Canucks,Roberto Luongo leaves for birth of child
March 27, 2008

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Vancouver Canucks center Brendan Morrison will miss the rest of this season after tearing a ligament in his right knee during Wednesday night's 6-3 loss in Colorado.

Morrison was injured 2 minutes into the second period as he was taken lightly toward the boards by defenseman Ruslan Salei after firing a sharp-angle shot. Morrison appeared to hurt his knee trying to stop.

Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, who was pulled from the Colorado game 10 minutes after Morrison was injured, left the team Thursday to be with his wife, Gina, in Florida for the birth of their first child. The Canucks were off Thursday, and Luongo was expected back for Friday's game in Minnesota.

``Provided everything goes well, we expect Roberto to join the club in Minnesota tomorrow,'' said Steve Tambellini, the Canucks' vice president and assistant general manager.

Vancouver has lost three straight games to fall to eighth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of ninth-place Nashville in the race for the final playoff spot.

The Canucks have known for a while that Luongo, who is third in the NHL with a 92.1 save percentage, might have to leave during the season. He skipped the All-Star game - and Vancouver's first home game after that - in late January to spend time with his wife.

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Hurricanes RW Patrick Eaves to have shoulder surgery, will miss up to 3 weeks
March 27, 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Carolina Hurricanes right wing Patrick Eaves will miss up to three weeks because of surgery on his left shoulder.

The Southeast Division leaders said Thursday that Eaves would have surgery Friday at a hospital in Cary. Team officials say Eaves is expected to be out two to three weeks.

Eaves missed the Hurricanes' 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday to Washington with the flu.

He has one goal and four assists since Carolina acquired him from Ottawa two months ago in the deal that sent Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman to the Senators.

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Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

- The Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at Nationwide Arena.

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

Dan Ellis made 36 saves for the shutout on Tuesday, as the Predators defeated the Blue Jackets 3-0. The Predators won the game as -170 favorites, while the three goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Jan Hlavac, Jason Arnott and Radek Bonk on the power play scored in the win.

The Blue Jackets fired 36 shots at Nikolai Khabibulin on Wednesday, as they shut out the Blackhawks 4-0. The Blue Jackets won the game as a -110 pik'em, and the four goals went UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Joakim Lindstrom, Clay Wilson, Jiri Novotny and Michael Peca scored for the Blue Jackets. Fredrick Norrena stopped all 17 shots to post the shutout.

Current streak:
Nashville has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Nashville: 38-31-8
Columbus: 34-32-11

Nashville most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-6
Before playing Minnesota are 7-3
After playing Columbus are 6-4
After a win are 3-7

Columbus most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Chicago are 4-6
After playing Chicago are 4-6
After a win are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
Nashville is 14-1 SU in its last 15 games when playing Columbus
Nashville is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Columbus
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Nashville's last 6 games when playing on the road against Columbus
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Nashville's last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Columbus's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Columbus's last 6 games when playing at home against Nashville
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Columbus's last 13 games when playing Nashville
Columbus is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games at home

Next up:
Nashville at Detroit, Sunday, March 30
Columbus at Chicago, Sunday, March 30

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Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils

- The division rival Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils are set to renew hostilities on Friday when they meet at Prudential Center.

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

Mike Richards scored at 2:39 of overtime on Tuesday, as the Flyers got past the Rangers 2-1. The Flyers won the game as +140 underdogs, and the three goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Daniel Briere scored the other goal for the Flyers, and Martin Biron made 31 saves in the win.

The Devils blew a third period lead and fell 3-2 to the Rangers last time out, as +115 road underdogs. The five goals went UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Patrick Elias and Zach Parise scored in the loss.

Current streak:
Philadelphia has won 4 straight games.
New Jersey has lost 5 straight games.

Team records:
Philadelphia: 39-28-10
New Jersey: 42-28-7

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Tampa Bay are 4-6
After playing NY Rangers are 3-7
After a win are 7-3

New Jersey most recently:
When playing on Friday are 8-2
Before playing Buffalo are 9-1
After playing NY Rangers are 3-7
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Philadelphia is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Philadelphia's last 12 games when playing on the road against New Jersey
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 7 games
Philadelphia is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road
New Jersey is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Jersey's last 5 games at home
New Jersey is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of New Jersey's last 12 games when playing at home against Philadelphia

Next up:
Philadelphia at NY Islanders, Saturday, March 29
New Jersey at NY Islanders, Tuesday, April 1

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Atlanta Thrashers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

- The Atlanta Thrashers and the Carolina Hurricanes will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at RBC Center.

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

Bobby Holik scored twice in leading the Thrashers to a 3-2 upset victory over the rising Panthers last time out, as +200 road underdogs. The five goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Mark Recchi scored the other marker for the Thrashers, and Kari Lehtonen made 44 saves to preserve the win.

The Hurricanes lost 3-2 to the Capitals in a shootout on Tuesday, as -125 favorites. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (6).

Jeff Hamilton and Erik Cole scored for the Hurricanes, and Cam Ward made 42 saves in the loss.

Team records:
Atlanta: 32-38-8
Carolina: 41-30-6

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Friday are 2-6-2
Before playing NY Rangers are 2-8
After playing Florida are 7-3
After a win are 5-5

Carolina most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-6
Before playing Boston are 4-6
After playing Washington are 3-7
After a loss are 7-3

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

Next up:
Atlanta at Tampa Bay, Monday, March 31
Carolina at Tampa Bay, Saturday, March 29

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Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres

- The Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres will meet on the ice at HSBC Arena on Friday in a battle of division rivals.

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

The Canadiens held on to their lead atop the Eastern Conference with a 7-5 win over the Senators on Monday. The Canadiens won the game as -135 favorites, and the 12 goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (6).

Andrei Kostitsyn had a pair for the Canadiens, while singles came off the sticks of Christopher Higgins, Andrei Markov, Francis Bouillon, Mikhail Grabovski and Tom Kostopoulos.

Derek Roy scored the shootout winner and pocketed two assists on Thursday, as the Sabres got past the Senators 4-3. The Sabres won the game as +135 underdogs, while the combined score was a PUSH against the posted over/under (6.5).

Maxim Afinogenov, Jochen Hecht and Paul Gaustad potted goals in regulation, and Ryan Miller stopped 25 shots in the win.

Current streak:
Montreal has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Montreal: 43-24-10
Buffalo: 36-30-11

Montreal most recently:
When playing on Friday are 8-2
Before playing Toronto are 8-2
After playing Ottawa are 5-5
After a win are 5-5

Buffalo most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Colorado are 6-4
After playing Ottawa are 5-5
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Montreal's last 7 games on the road
Montreal is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Montreal's last 5 games when playing on the road against Buffalo
Montreal is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Buffalo's last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Buffalo's last 5 games when playing at home against Montreal
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Buffalo's last 12 games at home
Buffalo is 13-5 SU in its last 18 games when playing at home against Montreal

Next up:
Montreal at Toronto, Saturday, March 29
Buffalo home to Boston, Sunday, March 30

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St. Louis Blues vs. Detroit Red Wings

- The division rival St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings are set to renew hostilities on Friday when they meet at Joe Louis Arena.

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

The Blues were clipped 2-1 by the Red Wings as a +160 underdog on Tuesday. The team's played UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Andy McDonald scored the lone goal for the Blues.

Johan Franzen scored a third period power play goal to lift the Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Blues. The Red Wings won the game as -180 road favorites, while the team's played UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Henrik Zetterberg scored the other Red Wings marker, and Chris Osgood stopped 17-of-18 shots faced.

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

Team records:
St. Louis: 30-34-12
Detroit: 51-20-6

St. Louis most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-6-1
Before playing Tampa Bay are 3-3-1
After playing Detroit are 4-6
After a loss are 2-8

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Edmonton are 5-5
After playing St. Louis are 8-2
After a win are 7-3

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

Next up:
St. Louis home to Chicago, Saturday, March 29
Detroit home to Nashville, Sunday, March 30

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Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild

- The fans at Xcel Energy Center will be treated to a game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Minnesota Wild when they take their seats on Friday.

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

The Canucks were doubled 6-3 by the Avalanche last time out, as +155 underdogs. The nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Daniel Sedin, Taylor Pyatt and Sami Salo scored for the Canucks.

Niklas Backstrom stopped 32 shots to help the Wild defeat the Oilers 3-1 on Wednesday. The Wild won the game as -200 favorites at home, while the four goals went UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Branko Radivojevic, Sean Hill and Brian Rolston scored for the Wild. Mikko Koivu pocketed three assists in the win.

Current streak:
Vancouver has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Vancouver: 38-29-10
Minnesota: 41-28-9

Vancouver most recently:
When playing on Friday are 8-1-1
Before playing San Jose are 5-5
After playing Colorado are 8-2
After a loss are 4-6

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Florida are 3-3-2
After playing Edmonton are 6-4
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Vancouver is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Vancouver is 5-9-1 SU in its last 15 games when playing on the road against Minnesota
Vancouver is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Minnesota
Minnesota is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Vancouver
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Minnesota's last 18 games
Minnesota is 4-8 SU in its last 12 games

Next up:
Vancouver home to Calgary, Sunday, March 30
Minnesota home to Colorado, Sunday, March 30

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Edmonton Oilers vs. Colorado Avalanche

- The division rival Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche are set to renew hostilities on Friday when they meet at Pepsi Center.

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

The Oilers lost 3-1 to the Wild in a pivotal game Wednesday night, as +170 road underdogs. The four goals went UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Fernando Pisani scored the lone Oilers marker.

Milan Hejduk scored twice and added an assist on Wednesday, as the Avalanche doubled the Canucks 6-3. The Avalanche won the game as -175 favorites, and the nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Jordan Leopold, Paul Stastny, Cody McLeod and Ben Guite scored singles in the victory. Peter Forsberg collected three assists in the win.

Current streak:
Colorado has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Edmonton: 39-34-5
Colorado: 41-31-6

Edmonton most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Detroit are 8-2
After playing Minnesota are 2-8
After a loss are 7-3

Colorado most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Buffalo are 8-8-1
After playing Vancouver are 6-4
After a win are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Edmonton's last 9 games when playing Colorado
Edmonton is 12-4 SU in its last 16 games
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Edmonton's last 12 games when playing on the road against Colorado
The total has gone OVER in 14 of Edmonton's last 19 games
Colorado is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games at home
Colorado is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Edmonton
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Colorado's last 9 games when playing Edmonton
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Colorado's last 12 games when playing at home against Edmonton

Next up:
Edmonton at Calgary, Saturday, March 29
Colorado at Minnesota, Sunday, March 30

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San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks

- The division rival San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks are set to renew hostilities on Friday when they meet at Honda Center.

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

Joe Thornton scored the tying goal in the third period and the OT winner on Thursday, lifting the Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Stars. The Sharks won the game as -145 favorites, while the five goals went as a PUSH against the posted over/under (5).

Joe Pavelski scored the other Sharks goal on the power play, and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves in the win.

Mathieu Schneider scored the shootout winner on Wednesday, giving the Ducks a 2-1 win over the Kings. The Ducks won the game as -240 favorites, and the combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Bobby Ryan scored the lone Ducks goal on the power play in regulation.

Current streak:
Anaheim has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
San Jose: 46-21-10
Anaheim: 44-26-8

San Jose most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Toronto are 3-3-2
After playing Dallas are 6-4
After a win are 8-2

Anaheim most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Dallas are 7-3
After playing Los Angeles are 4-6
After a win are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
San Jose is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games on the road
San Jose is 15-2 SU in its last 17 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of San Jose's last 11 games when playing Anaheim
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of San Jose's last 7 games when playing on the road against Anaheim
Anaheim is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Anaheim is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Anaheim's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Anaheim's last 11 games when playing San Jose

Next up:
San Jose home to Phoenix, Sunday, March 30
Anaheim home to Dallas, Sunday, March 30

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