Hockey Today May 1

Hockey Today May 1

NHL LONG SHEET

PITTSBURGH (54-27-0-8, 116 pts.) at NY RANGERS (46-30-0-14, 106 pts.)


There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 14-13 (+3.7 Units) against the spread versus NY RANGERS over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 14-13-0 straight up against NY RANGERS over the last 3 seasons
16 of 26 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+4.9 Units)


DETROIT (61-23-0-7, 129 pts.) at COLORADO (48-34-0-9, 105 pts.)

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
DETROIT is 13-2 (+10.1 Units) against the spread versus COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
DETROIT is 13-2-0 straight up against COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
9 of 15 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.4 Units)

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NHL SHORT SHEET

Eastern Conference Playoffs
Second Round
Game Four
Pitsburgh leads, 3-0
Pittsburgh at NY Rangers, 7:05 ET

Pittsburgh:
5-12 SU off division win
4-9 SU at NY Rangers

NY Rangers:
25-8 SU at home if the total is 5.5
11-2 SU revenging home loss


Western Conference Playoffs
Second Round
Game Four
Detroit Leads, 3-0
Detroit at Colorado, 10:05 ET

Detroit:
12-2 SU Away off road win
45-15 SU off win

Colorado:
2-13 SU vs. Detroit
1-6 SU at home vs. Detroit

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2008 NHL playoffs

Penguins are 7-0 in playoffs this spring; they scored five goals on just 17 shots in Game 3, as Rangers outshot Pittsburgh by 39-17 margin, but lost again, as Pens scored two goals on the power play in just 4:49 with man advantage. Rangers were 0-5 on pwer play (8:46 with man edge); they're 1-17 on power play in series, while Penguins are 4-13.

Detroit is 7-0 vs Avalanche this season, winning first three in this series by 4-3/5-1/4-3 scores. Red Wings scored in seven of nine periods in series, are 5-19 on power play. Colorado threw 33 shots on goal in Game 3, after 21-20 in first two, but Detroit had 19 shots in first period, grabbed 2-1 lead and now have 3-0 lead, and are 7-2 so far this postseason.

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Trend Sheet

7:00 PM PITTSBURGH vs. NY RANGERS
Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing NY Rangers
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Pittsburgh's last 18 games when playing NY Rangers
NY Rangers are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of the NY Rangers last 6 games

10:00 PM DETROIT vs. COLORADO
Detroit is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Detroit is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Colorado
Colorado is 11-3 SU in its last 14 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Colorado's last 7 games at home

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Thursday's Ice Hits
By Judd Hall

I seem to remember a time when the NHL postseason were taught battles. Oh yeah, that was just last round, wasn’t it?

The opening round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs saw six of the opening eight series go at least six games. The current rate of the Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals has us getting one sweep and the other matchups lasting just five matches at least.

Perhaps this is a not so subtle way of showing us the “haves” and “have nots.”

Thursday features a pair of said elimination contests for us, but there is a chance to prolong the magic.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

Well color me wrong for thinking the Blueshirts actually had a chance in this series.

I thought New York played a sounder team defense over what the Penguins would in this showdown, but it has been the exact opposite.

Pittsburgh was able to push around Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Jaromir Jagr well enough to make the Rangers’ 39 shots relatively worthless. I guess that should have been expected considering New York was third in the league for shots taken (2,579), but 25th in goals scored (205) for the regular season.

The Penguins were able to make the most of just 17 shots on goal in their 5-3 road victory in Game 3. And once again, they were able to spread those scores amongst the crowd with four skaters accounting for the offense. Hart Trophy finalist Evgeni Malkin put in two goals to bring his postseason leading total to 13 points.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 of 39 shots to improve his playoff record to 7-0 with a 1.72 GAA and 94.0 save percentage. If Pittsburgh makes it to the Cup Finals, it’s going to be either Fleury (7/1) or Malkin (15/1) coming away with the Conn Smythe Trophy*.

The Rangers are currently listed as slight $1.10 home favorites (risk $110 to win $100) in Game 4, which actually is the smarter play when you break down team history.

Pittsburgh has never posted a perfect 8-0 record en route to the conference finals. And New York has been swept out of the second round of the playoffs just once in the modern era.

I will be the first to admit that line should change though with the news of Sean Avery being “out” for the remainder of the playoffs with a lacerated spleen. That is seven points and a myriad of ill will the Rangers will miss against the Pens for the remainder of the series.

Versus will be broadcasting this contest starting at 7:00 pm EDT.

Detroit Red Wings at Colorado Avalanche

There was so much hope for this series to live up to the classic scuffles of the past. Now, we’re left with a team that is firing on all cylinders while the other is being worked on by none other than Dr. B.J. Honeycutt.

Colorado looks to be without the services of Paul Stastny, Ryan Smyth and Wojtek Wolski. Smyth’s absence will be the most expensive for the Avs chances as he has made 22 shots on goal and helps the offense to move. It’s just too bad he likes to run through a brick wall to make it happen.

The Avalanche will also be looking to avoid a nasty postseason losing skid. Colorado has only been swept out of the second round of the playoffs just once. The problem lies in the fact that that sweep came in the Avs last postseason appearance in 2006.

You’ll be able to catch this tilt on Versus at 9:00 pm EDT.

vegasinsider.com

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Thursday's best NHL bets
COVERS.com

Pittsburgh vs. Rangers -110, 5 1/2

The Penguins went up 3-0 in their series with the Rangers Tuesday night with a 5-3 win but don’t expect New York to hand over the fourth win easily.

“I have a very funny feeling about this series,” Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr told a group of reporters huddled around his locker after the game.

It’s a little reminiscent of Ben Crenshaw the day before the American Ryder Cup team made the most improbable comeback in golf history at Brookline in 1999. You could sort of see in Jagr's eyes that he believes something special is coming.

But maybe it's more the fact a veteran is seeing his final days as an NHLer come to an end and he's clinging to all hope.

Unlike Ben Crenshaw's team, Tom Renney likely just lost a few players the day before the big event. Chris Drury squeaked to the bench in the second period, hunched over in pain in the second period in Game 3. It will be a surprise if he plays in Game 4. Blair Betts didn't play the third period Tuesday night. And winger Sean Avery was rushed to hospital during the wee hours of Wednesday morning and it turns out he played most of the game with spleen laceration. Avery is out for the season.

Not promising signs for a team on the brink. 

Pick: Pittsburgh +100


Detroit vs. Colorado +125, 5 1/2

Some of you thought we were crazy when we took the Red Wings in five games to win this series in our Round 2 previews and picks. But the President’s Cup winning Red Wings are playing their best hockey of the season and it’s easy to see why they’re the Stanley Cup faves.

They now have five straight playoff victories and have rewarded bettors for taking the chalk (favorite action). What’s worse news for their opponents is their snipers are heating up.

In the first round, Detroit got scoring from a bunch of different sources from every line. Now Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are red hot after eight points combined over the past two games.

The loss of Ryan Smyth to a foot injury really bites the Avs, as does the fact Peter Forsberg isn’t at full strength with a groin injury. Colorado just doesn’t have the horses to keep up with the Wings here and Detroit will even this all-time playoff series at 3-3 Thursday night.

Pick: Red Wings -135

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Hockey Today

Pittsburgh at N.Y. Rangers (7 p.m. EDT). The Penguins can complete a sweep of the Rangers and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

STARS

-Daniel Briere, Flyers, scored the winner on a rebound with 3:38 left to lift Philadelphia to a 4-2 win over Montreal.

-Milan Michalek, Sharks, broke a tie with 16:34 left and San Jose held off Dallas 2-1.

STILL ALIVE

San Jose avoided a four-game sweep in its second-round series with Dallas after holding on for a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. Game 5 is Friday night in San Jose, where the Stars won the first two games of the series. The visiting team has won 14 of the past 18 games between the Pacific Division rivals, dating to last season.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY

Philadelphia went up 3-1 in its East semifinal series with top-seeded Montreal after a 4-2 win on Wednesday night. The Flyers held that same advantage during their first-round series against Washington, when they took a 3-1 lead and didn't clinch until a Game 7 overtime victory.

SCARE FOR SEAN

New York Rangers forward Sean Avery has been hospitalized after lacerating his spleen during a playoff loss to Pittsburgh. In a statement Wednesday, the team said the noted agitator was taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center after New York's 5-3 loss Tuesday night and was admitted following a CT scan. The 28-year-old Avery will be out for the remainder of the season, the Rangers said, but is expected to make a full recovery.

PRICE ISN'T RIGHT

Montreal benched rookie goalie Carey Price and started Jaroslav Halak against Philadelphia on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Price was pulled after he allowed three goals in the first two periods of Philadelphia's 3-2 Game 3 victory. Halak, who hadn't started since March 29 at Toronto, made 22 saves in the 4-2 loss that gave the Flyers a three games to one lead in the series.

STU SITS

Dallas center Stu Barnes missed Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series Wednesday night against San Jose, a night after he took a hard hit to the head. Stars coach Dave Tippett said only that Barnes was ``feeling the effects'' after taking the shot to the head from Jonathan Cheechoo in the third period of Game 3 Tuesday night, which the Stars won 2-1 in overtime to take a 3-0 series lead

SPEAKING

``When things are going good, people want to give you flowers. When things are going bad, heads up. The vase is coming.'' - Philadelphia goalie Martin Biron after the Flyers took a three games to one lead in their semifinal series after a 4-2 win over Montreal on Wednesday night.

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