Hockey Today April 18

Hockey Today April 18

NHL Trend Sheet

7:30 PM NASHVILLE vs. DETROIT
Nashville is 5-11 SU in its last 16 games when playing Detroit
Nashville is 1-9 SU in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Detroit
Detroit is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games at home


7:30 PM NY RANGERS vs. NEW JERSEY
NY Rangers are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games when playing on the road against New Jersey
NY Rangers are 8-14-2 SU in their last 24 games when playing on the road against New Jersey
New Jersey is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of New Jersey's last 5 games

   
10:30 PM DALLAS vs. ANAHEIM
Dallas is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Dallas is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Anaheim is 4-9 SU in its last 13 games when playing Dallas
Anaheim is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Dallas

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Re: Hockey Today April 18

Hockey Today

San Jose at Calgary (8 p.m. EDT). The Sharks are a win away from a fourth straight trip to the second round of the playoffs as they visit the Flames for Game 6.

STARS

-Mike Knuble, Flyers, poked in the game-winner 6:40 into the second overtime to give Philadelphia a 4-3 win over Washington.

-Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo, Sharks. Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and Cheechoo added two goals in the third that sent San Jose to a 4-3 victory over Calgary.

-Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny, Avalanche, scored 79 seconds apart early in the third period to help Colorado edge Minnesota 3-2.

EXTRA, EXTRA

Philadelphia and Washington played the first double-overtime game of this year's playoffs, with the Flyers winning 4-3 to take a three-games to one lead in that first-round series. Philadelphia has won three straight in the series and can eliminate the Southeast Division-champion Capitals Saturday in Washington.

CHAMPS ON THE ROPES

Defending-champion Anaheim is a loss away from elimination after falling at Dallas 3-1 in Game 4 of the quarterfinals on Thursday night. No reiging champ has reached the second round since Colorado in 2002.

PLEADING THE FIFTH

Colorado and San Jose each broke 2-2 ties in its respective quarterfinal series with victories on Thursday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, more than 80 percent (158 of 196) of the Game 5 winners of previously tied playoff series have advanced to the next round in NHL history. Detroit and Nashville are also tied two games apiece heading into Game 5 of that series on Friday night.

STAYING ALIVE

Boston avoided elimination in its first-round series with Montreal by posting a 5-1 victory in Game 5 on Thursday night. The Bruins beat the Canadiens for only the second time in 13 tries this season.

OZZIE IS IN

Chris Osgood will start in goal when Detroit hosts Nashville in the pivotal Game 5 in the best-of-seven series Friday night. Hasek was benched after giving up three goals on 14 shots Wednesday night a 3-2 loss at Nashville that tied the quarterfinals at two games apiece. Osgood had 13 saves in relief.

WELCOME BACK

Anaheim right wing Corey Perry, who led the club in goals during the regular season but missed the last six weeks after a freak leg injury, started Game 4 of that quarterfinal series against Dallas on Thursday night and had an assist in the 3-1 loss. Perry hadn't played since March 6, when the tendon above his right knee was lacerated by the skate of Colorado goalie Jose Theodore. Fellow right wing Rob Niedermayer did not make the trip to Dallas, remaining home with concussion-like symptoms.

SITTING OUT

Mark Streit has a hip injury and sat out Montreal's playoff game against Boston on Thursday. Coach Guy Carbonneau said the defenseman was injured in the second period of Game 4 on Tuesday in Boston and is day to day. Michael Ryder will replace Streit. ... Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher missed Thursday night's playoff game against Anaheim with what the club termed a lower-body injury.

SPEAKING

``It's an unbelievable feeling to score in this town and hear the building go nuts. You pinch yourself. You can't believe it's happening.'' - Philadelphia's Mike Knuble after scoring in double-overtime Thursday night to give the host Flyers a 4-3 win over Washington and a three games to one series lead in the quarterfinals.

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Re: Hockey Today April 18

Pivotal Friday
By Judd Hall

We were supposed to have four games on Friday in the NHL playoffs. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Penguins of this as they swept Ottawa out of the first round…and Bryan Murray out of a job, if there is any justice in the world.

In spite of Sidney Crosby’s crew, we’ve still got three contests worth mulling over as the weekend looms. One of the series could even end that night as well.

Let’s get to it.

Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings

Let me be the first to say that I didn’t think the Preds would really win a game, much less even up this best-of-seven showdown.

Nashville took advantage of scoring two goals within 32 seconds of one another by Dan Hamhuis and Shea Weber. That right tells you that the Predators are slumping when you consider they scored goals 11 and nine seconds apart in the previous to matches.

It hasn’t been all scoring for the Predators up until now. They’ve received great efforts from Dan Ellis between the pipes. The 27-year old netminder has picked up two straight wins with a 93 save percentage to go along.

As good as Nashville is feeling at the moment, they still have to go into the hostile confines of Joe Louis Arena to get its first series lead in franchise history. This is easier said than done considering the Preds haven’t won a match on the road during the postseason ever.

This is a very tall order for Barry Trotz’s club as they’re 5-9 SU in Detroit since the start of the 2005-2006 season. That alone should make you gun shy about taking the Music City Kitties at plus 240 (risk $100 to win $240) for an outright victory.

Instead, consider playing the ‘under’ as it is 9-5 in the last five visits to Detroit for the Preds.

New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils

The Devils couldn’t stop complaining about Sean Avery’s antics in Game 3. Then in Game 4, New Jersey fell to the same man who helped them win its lone match of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Blueshirts defenseman Marc Staal had a puck ricochet into the net for a 4-3 New Jersey victory last Sunday. Last Wednesday, he put in the game winner with just over three minutes remaining in regulation to quickly exorcise any demons he had in the Rangers’ 5-3 win.

Now New York is sitting on the edge of making their second straight East Semifinals appearance. Can they do it on the road though?

If the regular season is a precursor, then the answer is ‘no.” The Rangers closed out their road schedule with a 2-5 mark, which included a 3-2 shoot out defeat in Newark. However, New York is 5-1 when taking on the Devils away from Madison Square Garden since Nov. 2007.

In case you were wondering, the Devils have seen their Stanley Cup dreams dashed on home ice four times since 1996. One of New Jersey’s defeats coming at the hands of the Rangers back in 1997.

vegasinsider.com

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Hasek out, Osgood in: Red Wings change goalies

DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Red Wings were hoping to stick with Dominik Hasek when the playoffs began after rotating the goalie with Chris Osgood in the regular season.

The six-time Vezina Trophy winner, though, was so shaky in a series-evening loss that coach Mike Babcock was compelled to make a move.

Hasek out. Osgood in.

''This is Plan B,'' Babcock acknowledged Thursday. ''But Plan B is Chris Osgood and I think he won 29 games and had the best goals-against average in the NHL.''

Hasek was benched after giving up three goals on 14 shots Wednesday night a 3-2 loss at Nashville. Osgood had 13 saves in relief.

Osgood will start when Detroit hosts the pivotal Game 5 in the best-of-seven series Friday night.

''I know I can do the job,'' said Osgood, speaking coyly about his role before Hasek broke the news. ''I'm 100-percent ready.''

The Red Wings are counting on that, hoping the switch in net helps them like it did in 2004 against the Predators in their franchise's first playoff series.

Then-Detroit coach Dave Lewis pulled Manny Legace in Game 4 and replaced him with Curtis Joseph, who helped the Red Wings win the next two games to eliminate Nashville.

''Ozzie has an opportunity,'' Babcock said. ''We'll see what he does with it.''

The Predators know if they're going to play in the second round for the first time in four attempts, they have to snap their 0-for-9 skid on the road in the playoffs.

''We talked about that,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ''If we're going to win this series, we have to win one at the Joe.

''We're not intimidated by that.''

Despite playing in his first postseason, Nashville's Dan Ellis certainly has not been fainthearted against the NHL's top-seeded team.

Ellis led the league with a .924 save percentage the regular season and has matched that average in the playoffs, giving up less than three goals a game, and made 39 saves in Game 4.

''Going back there for Game 5, now on equal footing, it's a big thing for us,'' Ellis said.

The Red Wings are trying to say the right things about their goaltending situation, downplaying the significance of Babcock's move as if its simply another lineup change.

They played Osgood in 43 games to Hasek's 41, following a plan to rest the 43-year-old player who has been named the NHL's best goalie six times and its top player overall twice.

''Now, it's Ozzie's time to step up,'' Hasek said. ''It worked all year. So, now we try it this time.''

Osgood had an NHL-low 2.09 goals-against average this season and Hasek ranked fourth with a 2.14 GAA.

When Detroit won its second straight Stanley Cup in 1998, Osgood was the No. 1 goaltender, and he is 45-37 in the postseason with the Red Wings, New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues. Hasek led the storied Red Wings to a title in 2002 and is 65-49 with Chicago, Buffalo and Detroit in the postseason.

''We've been here before,'' Osgood said. ''We'll rely on our experience.''

Not many Predators know what it is like to make long playoff runs, but they are well aware of how important Game 5 is with the series tied.

''Whoever wins is going to have a big advantage in the series,'' Nashville center David Legwand said. ''It's a best two out of three right now. Just puts all the pressure on tomorrow's game.''

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