Hockey Today April 4

Hockey Today April 4

Hockey Today

Florida at Carolina (7 p.m. EDT). The Hurricanes can wrap up the Southeast Division and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win over the Panthers.

STARS

-Antoine Vermette, Senators, scored three goals and Ottawa beat Toronto 8-2.

-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals, scored twice in Washington's 4-1 win over Tampa Bay

-Marian Gaborik, Wild, scored two third-period goals as Minnesota beat Calgary 3-1.

-Jaromir Jagr, Rangers, scored two power-play goals in a 2-minute span of the first period, and New York beat the Islanders 3-0.

ALEX THE GREAT

Alex Ovechkin broke Luc Robitaille's single-season NHL record for most goals by a left wing with his 64th and 65th Thursday night to lead Washington to a 4-1 victory over Tampa Bay. The win put the Capitals into the top eight in the Eastern Conference, with only one game left to play. The 22-year-old Russian tied the game - and passed Robitaille - in the first period after the Lightning had stunned the crowd with a goal in the first minute. Ovechkin then gave the Capitals the lead with 12:10 to play in the game with a drive from the top of the left circle and just under the crossbar for his 22nd power-play goal, tying Peter Bondra's team record. The Capitals have won six in a row - their longest winning streak since Jan. 8-19, 2000 - and 10 of 11.

GOING WILD

Minnesota's Marian Gaborik scored two third-period goals to help the Wild beat Calgary 3-1 on Thursday night for the first division title in the franchise's seven seasons. Minnesota's Jacques Lemaire also earned his 500th career victory and became the 12th coach in NHL history to reach that mark.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH

Antoine Vermette scored three goals and Ottawa moved within a point of wrapping up a playoff berth with an 8-2 win over Toronto on Thursday. The Senators, who scored three short-handed goals, can clinch a playoff spot with at least one point Friday night when they close out the regular season at home to Boston.

CLINCHED

Henrik Zetterberg wrapped up the Presidents' Trophy for Detroit, scoring with 11 seconds left to rally the Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over Columbus on Thursday night. With 113 points, the Red Wings took the Presidents' Trophy as the regular-season points leaders and earned home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

IN

Jaromir Jagr scored two power-play goals in a 2-minute span of the first period, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 25 shots, and the Rangers clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth with a 3-0 victory over the Islanders on Thursday night. The Rangers are in the playoffs for the third straight year.

SPEAKING

``You could see their faces after the game. Obviously, they weren't too thrilled.'' - Montreal's Chris Higgins after the Canadiens 3-1 victory over Buffalo., eliminating the Sabres from the playoffs.

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Re: Hockey Today April 4

New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers

- The New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Wachovia Center.

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

Zach Parise scored the shootout winner on Wednesday, as the Devils defeated the Bruins 3-2. The Devils won the game as -150 favorites at home, and the combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Dainius Zubrus and David Clarkson scored for the Devils in regulation. Martin Brodeur made 25 saves in the win.

The Flyers were doubled 4-2 by the Penguins last time out, as +130 underdogs. The six goals were a PUSH against the posted over/under (6).

Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter scored for the Flyers.

Current streak:
New Jersey has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
New Jersey: 45-28-7
Philadelphia: 40-29-11

New Jersey most recently:
When playing on Friday are 6-4
Before playing Buffalo are 9-1
After playing Boston are 3-7
After a win are 7-3

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Friday are 2-8
Before playing Tampa Bay are 4-6
After playing Pittsburgh are 5-5
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
New Jersey is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 4 of New Jersey's last 5 games when playing Philadelphia
New Jersey is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 5 of New Jersey's last 7 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 6 games at home
Philadelphia is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games when playing New Jersey
Philadelphia is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games

Next up:
New Jersey home to NY Rangers, Sunday, April 6
Philadelphia home to Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 6

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New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers

- The New York Islanders and the New York Rangers will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Madison Square Garden.

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

Wade Dubielewicz stopped 32-of-35 shots in a losing effort for the Islanders, who were listed at +170 underdogs in the contest.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 25 shots on Thursday, as the Rangers shut out the Islanders 3-0 in the opener of the home-and-home series. The Rangers won the game as -200 favorites, while the three goals went UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Jaromir Jagr scored two power play goals to lead the Rangers, and Martin Straka added the other marker in the win.

Current streak:
New York has lost 4 straight games.
New York has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
New York: 34-38-9
New York: 42-27-11

New York most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-4-1
Before playing New Jersey are 5-5
After playing NY Rangers are 3-7
After a loss are 2-8

New York most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Florida are 7-3
After playing NY Islanders are 8-2
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the NY Islanders last 5 games on the road
NY Islanders are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games when playing on the road against NY Rangers
The total has gone OVER in 5 of the NY Islanders last 7 games when playing on the road against NY Rangers
NY Islanders are 2-11 SU in their last 13 games
NY Rangers are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of the NY Rangers last 7 games when playing at home against NY Islanders
NY Rangers are 12-6 SU in their last 18 games
NY Rangers are 2-6 SU in their last 8 games when playing at home against NY Islanders

Next up:
NY Rangers at New Jersey, Sunday, April 6

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Re: Hockey Today April 4

Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

- If familiarity breeds contempt, there should be animosity aplenty on Friday when the Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes meet at RBC Center.

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

Jay Bouwmeester, Olli Jokinen, and David Booth potted markers as the Panthers defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Florida cashed in as -135 road favorites as the game played under the 5.5-goal total listed by oddsmakers.

Chad LaRose scored a hat trick in leading the Hurricanes to a 6-2 win over the Lightning on Wednesday, as -240 favorites. The eight goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (6).

Eric Staal, Scott Walker, Tuomo Ruutu also scored for the Hurricanes. Dennis Seidenberg pocketed two assists in the victory.

Team records:
Florida: 37-34-9
Carolina: 43-32-6

Florida most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-5-1
Before playing NY Rangers are 6-4
After playing Atlanta are 4-6
After a win are 6-4

Carolina most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-5-1
Before playing Boston are 4-6
After playing Tampa Bay are 4-6
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Florida's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Florida's last 8 games
Florida is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games
Florida is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Carolina is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Florida
Carolina is 12-2 SU in its last 14 games when playing Florida
Carolina is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
Carolina is 13-5 SU in its last 18 games

Next up:
Florida at Washington, Saturday, April 5

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Re: Hockey Today April 4

Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators

- If familiarity breeds contempt, there should be animosity aplenty on Friday when the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators meet at Scotiabank Place.

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

The Bruins lost 3-2 to the Devils in a shootout on Wednesday, as +130 road underdogs. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Dennis Wideman and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins.

Antoine Vermette scored a hat trick to lead the Senators to an 8-2 rout of the Maple Leafs on Thursday, as -170 favorites. The combined score sailed OVER the posted over/under (6).

Dany Heatley scored a pair for the Senators, while singles came from Jason Spezza, Cody Bass and Dean McAmmond.

Current streak:
Boston has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Boston: 40-28-12
Ottawa: 43-30-8

Boston most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Ottawa are 5-5
After playing New Jersey are 3-7
After a loss are 3-7

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

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Boston's last 5 games when playing Ottawa
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Boston's last 5 games when playing on the road against Ottawa
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Boston's last 7 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Boston's last 13 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Ottawa's last 5 games when playing Boston
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Ottawa's last 5 games when playing at home against Boston
Ottawa is 16-5 SU in its last 21 games when playing at home against Boston
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Ottawa's last 10 games at home

Next up:
Boston home to Buffalo, Saturday, April 5

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Re: Hockey Today April 4

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

- The Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks will meet on the ice at United Center 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 Predators defeated the Blues 3-2 on Thursday, as -260 favorites. The five goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Jerred Smithson, J.P. Dumont and Greg de Vries scored in the win. Dan Ellis made 27 saves for the victory.

Patrick Kane scored a goal and added two assists in the Blackhawks 6-2 thumping of the Red Wings on Wednesday. The Blackhawks won the game as +110 underdogs, and the eight goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Cam Barker, Jordan Hendry, Robert Lang, Dustin Byfuglien and Adam Burish added the other goals in the win.

Current streak:
Nashville has won 2 straight games.
Chicago has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Nashville: 41-31-9
Chicago: 39-33-8

Nashville most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Minnesota are 7-3
After playing St. Louis are 5-5
After a win are 4-6

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Friday are 2-8
Before playing Edmonton are 5-5
After playing Detroit are 3-7
After a win are 4-6

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

Next up:
Chicago at Detroit, Sunday, April 6

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Re: Hockey Today April 4

Phoenix Coyotes vs. Dallas Stars

- The Phoenix Coyotes and the Dallas Stars will meet on the ice at American Airlines Center 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 Coyotes fell 4-2 to the Stars last time out, as +110 underdogs. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5).

Enver lisikn and Keith Ballard tallied for the Coyotes.

The Stars scored two power play goals and doubled the Coyotes 4-2 last time out, as -130 favorites. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5).

Matt Nizskasent, Stephane Robidas, Brenden Morrow and Mike Modano scored for the Stars.

Current streak:
Phoenix has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Phoenix: 37-37-6
Dallas: 44-29-7

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Chicago are 5-5
After playing Dallas are 3-7
After a loss are 3-7

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Friday are 8-2
Before playing Los Angeles are 5-5
After playing Phoenix are 5-5
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Phoenix's last 9 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Phoenix's last 11 games when playing on the road against Dallas
Phoenix is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Dallas
Phoenix is 5-11 SU in its last 16 games when playing Dallas
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Dallas's last 11 games when playing at home against Phoenix
Dallas is 11-5 SU in its last 16 games when playing Phoenix
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Dallas's last 6 games at home
Dallas is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Phoenix

Next up:
Phoenix at Anaheim, Sunday, April 6
Dallas home to San Jose, Sunday, April 6

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Rangers' Shanahan sits out against Isles

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -New York Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan sat out Thursday night against the New York Islanders because of a leg injury that shelved him for the third period of Monday's win over Pittsburgh.

Shanahan is not seriously injured, and coach Tom Renney said he expects the 39-year-old winger to play Friday when the Rangers and Islanders conclude a home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden.

``He's much much better,'' Renney said a few hours before Thursday's game. ``He'll play tomorrow, there's no doubt in my mind about that. It's as much precautionary as anything.''

Shanahan was injured Monday during the second period, but later returned to the bench. Renney said the injury is a ``muscle issue.''

The Rangers entered play Thursday needing just one win in their final three games to secure an Eastern Conference playoff berth for the third straight year.

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