Hockey Today April 24

Hockey Today April 24

NHL LONG SHEET

COLORADO (48-31-0-9, 105 pts.) at DETROIT (58-23-0-7, 123 pts.)

Top Trends for this game.
DETROIT is 29-9 ATS (+15.1 Units) after a win by 2 goals or more this season.
COLORADO is 53-40 ATS (+3.1 Units) second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
COLORADO is 45-37 ATS (+82.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
DETROIT is 10-2 (+7.1 Units) against the spread versus COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
DETROIT is 10-2-0 straight up against COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
6 of 12 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=-0.6 Units, Under=-0.7 Units)


PHILADELPHIA (46-32-0-11, 103 pts.) at MONTREAL (51-27-0-11, 113 pts.)

Top Trends for this game.
PHILADELPHIA is 30-68 ATS (+109.4 Units) revenging a loss versus opponent over the last 2 seasons.
MONTREAL is 2-12 ATS (-10.7 Units) in the second round of the playoffs since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
MONTREAL is 10-2 (+8.6 Units) against the spread versus PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
MONTREAL is 10-2-0 straight up against PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
5 of 9 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+0.6 Units)

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NHL SHORT SHEET

Second Round
Game One
Series Tied, 0-0
Colorado at Detroit, 7:35 ET

Colorado:
4-16 SU Away off home game
7-1 Under playing with double revenge

Detroit:
15-3 SU off a road win by 2+ goals
42-15 SU off a win


Second Round
Game One
Series Tied, 0-0
Philadelphia at Montreal, 7:05 ET

Philadelphia:
20-10 Over playing their 3rd game in 4 days
43-27 Over revenging same season loss

Montreal:
1-7 SU at home off a home win by 3+ goals
2-12 SU in the 2nd round

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NHL Trend Sheet

7:00 PM PHILADELPHIA vs. MONTREAL
Philadelphia is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Montreal
Philadelphia is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Montreal
Montreal is 11-4 SU in its last 15 games
Montreal is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games at home


7:30 PM COLORADO vs. DETROIT
Colorado is 2-12 SU in its last 14 games when playing Detroit
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Colorado's last 7 games when playing Detroit
Detroit is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
Detroit is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Colorado

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Second round starts Thursday in Stanley Cup playoffs

Eight teams are gone and eight remain as Round 2 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs begins on Thursday night with Game 1 between Philadelphia and Montreal in the East, and Colorado and Detroit in the West.

The Flyers needed seven games to take care of the Capitals in the opening round. In Game 7 on Tuesday night Joffrey Lupul scored the game winner in overtime in a 3-2 Flyers victory. Daniel Briere was a scoring machine for Philadelphia in the first round with six goals and five assists, while Vaclav Prospal also had a strong series with three goals and six assists. Flyers’ goaltender Martin Biron was largely inconsistent in the series and finished with a pedestrian 2.67 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

The Canadiens also went the distance with Boston in the opening round before vanquishing the Bruins in Game 7 with a 5-0 shutout victory. After struggling in Games 5 and 6, Montreal goalie Carey Price stonewalled the Bruins stopping all 25 shots he faced. Price finished the series with a 2.09 goals against average, a .925 save percentage and a pair of shutouts. Rookie Sergei Kostitsyn led the Canadiens with three goals and three assists in the opening round, while veteran sniper Alexei Kovalev recorded two goals and four assists.

Montreal should be happy that they drew the Flyers in the second round. During the regular season the Canadiens were 4-0 against Philadelphia, outscoring them 15-6 in the process.

Colorado returns to the ice for the first time since eliminating the Wild way back on Saturday, April 19, when the Avs sent Minnesota packing with a 2-1 win in Game 6. Jose Theodore continued to turn back the clock with 34 saves in the win, as he posted as an impressive 1.88 goals against average and a .940 save percentage in the series. Joe Sakic led the Avalanche with two goals and four assists against Minnesota, while Peter Forsberg had a relatively quiet series with a goal and four assists.

The Red Wings went six games with Nashville before sending the Predators to the golf course. Detroit blanked Nashville 3-0 in Game 6, as Chris Osgood made 20 saves. Expect Osgood to remain between the pipes against Colorado after he replaced Dominik Hasek versus Minnesota. Osgood had a 0.39 GAA and a .981 save percentage against Minnesota compared to Hasek’s awful 2.91 GAA and .888 save percentage. Pavel Datsyuk led Detroit with three goals against the Wild and he also registered a pair of assists.

Detroit was a perfect 4-0 versus Colorado this season, with three of those wins being shutouts. Hasek recorded two of those shutouts, while Osgood was in nets for the third.

Check BetJamaica for the latest odds and lines on the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

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Stars welcome back Zubov after escaping first round
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

DALLAS (AP) -Free from the burden of repeated playoff failures, the Dallas Stars had another reason to feel relieved Wednesday.

Defenseman Sergei Zubov, out since January with various ailments, returned to practice and said he felt good afterward. That news improved his chances of playing against San Jose in the second-round series that starts Friday.

But the Stars say they know better than to let a sense of relief dampen the sense of urgency that helped them eliminate defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim and end a streak of three straight first-round playoff exits.

Goalie Marty Turco dismissed the suggestion as ''humorous.''

''You treat every playoff series the exact same, the same urgency, the same discipline ... or you're not going win that series,'' said forward Steve Ott. ''It doesn't matter if it's the first round or the fourth round. If there's not an urgency out there, you're not going to win.''

Several of these Stars were around the last time Dallas saw the second round, but new teammate Brad Richards is the only one who recently made a long run. The playoff MVP for Tampa Bay's Cup-winning team in 2004 says there's plenty of work to be done.

''We're not going to have a letdown,'' Richards said. ''It's whether we can keep going to new levels, levels that we don't even know where they're at yet.''

The Stars will know their opponent, that's for sure.

Dallas' rivalry with San Jose took a strange turn in a meaningless finale, the last of eight between the two during the regular season. The teams fought almost from the drop of the puck, compiling 105 penalty minutes in the first period and 160 for the game.

The Stars won 4-2 and considered it far from meaningless. At the time, they were trying to reverse a late-season slump. They did more than that, perhaps bonding and preparing for the physical approach Anaheim took in the first round.

''There was more penalties than I would have anticipated by far,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said. ''Our team needed that, not necessarily because it was San Jose, but our team needed that to play well.''

At one point this season, the Stars thought they needed Zubov to have a chance in the playoffs. A foot injury sidelined him initially, and he aggravated a sports hernia from last year's playoffs when he tried to come back.

In an effort to speed his recovery, Zubov recently went to Germany for his second sports hernia surgery in less than a year.

''When I feel I can be effective, I'll be in there,'' he said Wednesday. ''I'm almost there.''

In Zubov's absence, veterans Stephane Robidas and Mattias Norstrom have anchored a group of defensemen that held up despite relying heavily on several players making their first playoff appearances.

Robidas, who had six points and a plus-2 rating against Anaheim, scored the tying goal and assisted on the winning goal in the series clincher, one game after his nose was broken by an errant puck.

Norstrom said those efforts must continue, with or without Zubov.

''I think that's something we need to be aware of as a group of defensemen is it's not, 'OK, let's sit back and watch what Zubie's going to do,''' Norstrom said. ''The best way to help him coming back and playing at his best level is for us to keep pushing ourselves.''

Tippett took the Stars to the second round his rookie season as coach. He knows better than most the difficulty of escaping the first round, and he thinks that test could serve as a spark.

''When you go into the playoffs, you never think about just getting by the first round; you think about winning a championship,'' he said. ''There's hurdles along the way, but that first round, getting out of there, is a big hurdle. Our guys, I think it'll bring the best out of them.''

And it could bring back one of the Stars' best players.

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Hockey Today

N.Y. Rangers at Pittsburgh (7 p.m. EDT). Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr, who won two Stanley Cup tittles with the Penguins, returns to the Steel City for his first playoff appearance against his former team.

BAD BLOOD

The Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche will rekindle one of the NHL's best rivalries on Thursday night in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinal. Detroit and Colorado met in five postseasons between 1996-2002 - the Avs advanced three times - and the franchises combined to win five Stanley Cups during that seven-year stretch.

STAYING PUT

Attempting to quiet speculation that general manager Brian Burke might leave Anaheim for Toronto, the Ducks announced Wednesday that he will remain with the team at least through next season and will continue to negotiate a contract extension. Burke, whose four-year deal expires at the end of the 2008-09 season, has put together a team that has won six postseason series in three years, including a run to the franchise's first Stanley Cup title in 2007.

HIRED

The Vancouver Canucks hired agent and former NHL player Mike Gillis as general manager on Wednesday. Gillis replaces Dave Nonis, who was fired April 14 after the Canucks missed the playoffs a season after winning the Northwest Division. The 49-year-old Gillis, who signed a five-year deal, will decide whether to keep coach Alain Vigneault.

CALDER TROPHY

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom were chosen Wednesday as finalists for the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL's top rookie. Kane, the first pick in the 2007 draft, and Toews, the third pick the year before, are teammates on the Chicago Blackhawks. Backstrom plays for the Washington Capitals, who were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Philadelphia in seven games.

SPEAKING

``We pushed each other to be the best. It was a slugfest back and forth - figuratively.'' - Red Wings forward Darren McCarty said Wednesday before facing Colorado for a sixth time in the playoffs.

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