Hockey Today May 9

Hockey Today May 9

Hockey Today

Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. EDT). The Flyers, who had the worst record in the NHL last season, are trying to get back to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1997.

FOR STARTERS

NHL-leading Detroit opened the Western Conference finals with a convincing 4-1 win over Dallas on Thursday night. The Red Wings are 3-0 in three postseason matchups against the Stars, most recently winning the 1998 conference finals en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup for a second straight year.

SEARCHING FOR PAST SUCCESS

Dallas goalie Marty Turco fell to 0-8-2 in his NHL career at Detroit after falling to the Red Wings 4-1 in the opener of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night. As a college netminder for Michigan, Turco was 18-5 at Joe Louis Arena.

SOARING WING

Detroit's Johan Franzen scored his 12th goal in 11 playoff games this postseason, helping the Red Wings beat Dallas 4-1 in the opener of the Western Conference finals. He is the first player to score that many goals in two years.

DEPLETED DEFENSE

Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen will likely miss the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh because of a blood clot in his left ankle. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Timonen was hit by a shot by Montreal's Andrei Markov late in Game 4 of Philadelphia's second-round victory over the Canadiens. Timonen said the doctor told him if the clot improves in the next two weeks, there would be a small chance he could play again this season.

SIGNED

Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom agreed to sign with Dallas on Thursday. The 23-year-old forward starred in the Swedish Elite League last season and was regarded as one of the top free agents available. Detroit, which is playing Dallas in the Western Conference finals, was also in the running for Brunnstrom.

SUIT

Former Buffalo enforcer Rob Ray is suing the NHL Players' Association for a second time over money owed him during the NHL lockout, accusing the union of deceiving him into settling his initial suit two years ago. Ray is seeking $2 million in punitive damages and back pay in a suit filed in State Supreme Court in Buffalo in January.

SPEAKING

``I'm not worried about how the Red Wings played. I'm worried about how we played.'' - Dallas coach Dave Tippett after the Stars lost the opener of the Western Conference finals 4-1 to Detroit on Thursday night.

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NHL LONG SHEET

PHILADELPHIA (50-32-0-12, 112 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (55-28-0-8, 118 pts.)


Top Trends for this game.
PITTSBURGH is 55-36 ATS (+92.4 Units) in all games this season.
PITTSBURGH is 35-18 ATS (+6.3 Units) second half of the season this season.
PITTSBURGH is 26-18 ATS (+4.4 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
PITTSBURGH is 28-19 ATS (+55.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 12-5 ATS (+18.2 Units) in road games after allowing 4 goals or more this season.
PITTSBURGH is 21-33 ATS (-30.4 Units) in home games when playing with 3 or more days rest since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 13-11 (+4.1 Units) against the spread versus PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 13-11-0 straight up against PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
15 of 23 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+6.1 Units)

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NHL SHORT SHEET

Eastern Conference Playoffs
Conference Finals
Game One
Series Tied, 0-0
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 7:05 ET

Philadelphia:
12-21 SU off a road win by 2+ goals
4-8 SU at Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh:
13-2 SU at home revenging a road loss
28-12 SU as a home favorite of -200 or less

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2008 NHL playoffs

Penguins are 9-1 in playoffs this season, 5-0 at home, allowing total of nine goals; they were just 3-5 vs Philly this year, with home team winning last five meetings, and 11 of last 13 series games going over total. Flyers whacked Montreal in five, after upsetting Washington in seven; they're 4-3 on playoff road.

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Trend Sheet

7:30 PM PHILADELPHIA vs. PITTSBURGH
Philadelphia is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Philadelphia's last 10 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home

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NHL set for conference finals

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins


The Flyers lost Game 1 of their second-round series with the Canadiens, but they then stormed back with four straight victories to take the best-of-seven set 4-1. Philadelphia finished off Montreal with a 6-4 victory in Game 5 on Saturday night, with Scottie Upshall scoring the game-winning goal late in the third period. R.J. Umberger scored twice for Philly in that contest, while Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell, and Mike Knuble added singles. Martin Biron stopped 31 of 35 Montreal shots on the night. Daniel Briere was held pointless on Saturday, but he leads the team with 14 points in 12 playoff contests. Umberger has a team-high nine goals, and Biron is 8-4 with a GAA of 2.72.

The Penguins finished off the Rangers with a 3-2 overtime victory on Sunday afternoon, with Marian Hossa scoring the series-clinching goal. Hossa actually picked up two goals in that contest, with Evgeni Malkin tallying the other Pittsburgh marker. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 of 22 New York shots in the win. The Penguins had won seven straight postseason games before losing Game 4 of their second-round set to the Rangers on Thursday night, but Sunday's win gave them a 4-1 series victory. Malkin and Crosby have each picked up 14 points in nine playoff games for the Penguins, with Malkin scoring a team-high six goals. Fleury is now 8-1 with a 1.76 GAA in the playoffs.

The Flyers were huge 85/1 underdogs to win this year's Stanley Cup on the opening line, but knocking out both the Capitals and the Canadiens has moved those odds to 9/2. The Penguins opened with 14/1 championship odds in Vegas, and are now at 9/5.

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Friday’s best NHL bet
COVERS.com

Philadelphia at Pittsburgh -175, 5½

Want to know the scariest thing about Pittsburgh’s 4-1 dismantling of the highly-touted New York Rangers? Sidney Crosby didn’t score. Sure, he played fine and contributed six assists in the series, but he has a lot more to prove and a matchup with the Flyers may be just what he needs to break out.

Sid the Kid has 16 goals and 21 assists in only 20 career games against Philadelphia. Plus, after all the foolishness that went down between these two teams near the end of the regular season, Pittsburgh’s big guns will need to make a statement early. The Flyers are a tough team that isn’t any fun to play against, but their nastiness could get them in real trouble if they don’t keep it in check.

Pittsburgh’s powerplay was a threat to score every time it was on the ice against the Rangers and we should see much of the same in this series.

Pick: Pittsburgh

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Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will both be gunning for a playoff victory on Friday night when they meet at Mellon Arena.

The Flyers erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the Canadiens 6-4 in Game 5 to clinch their Eastern Conference semifinal series last time out.

The Flyers won that game as +150 underdogs, while the 10 goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

R.J. Umberger had two goals for the Flyers, while singles came from Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, and Mike Knuble.

The Penguins defeated the Rangers 3-2 in overtime as a -190 favorite on Sunday to close out their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The five goals scored caused that game to be a PUSH on the posted over/under total (5).

Marian Hossa scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime for Pittsburgh, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves in the win.

Team records:
Philadelphia: 42-29-11
Pittsburgh: 47-27-8

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Tampa Bay are 6-4
After playing Montreal are 5-5
After a win are 6-4

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing NY Rangers are 6-4
After a win are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Philadelphia's last 7 games when playing Pittsburgh
Philadelphia is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 6 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Pittsburgh is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
Pittsburgh is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Pittsburgh's last 7 games when playing Philadelphia

Next up:
Pittsburgh home to Philadelphia, Sunday, May 11

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Flyers defenseman Timonen likely out of East finals with blood clot
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Flyers All-Star defenseman Kimmo Timonen will likely miss the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins because of a blood clot in his left ankle.

Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren said Timonen was hit by a shot by Montreal's Andrei Markov late in Game 4 of Philadelphia's second-round victory over the Canadiens. Timonen had an MRI taken Wednesday that didn't show a clot, but a vascular surgeon found a small one Thursday.

''We have to view this that he's not a player for us in the series, and march on,'' Holmgren said Thursday night.

The Flyers eliminated the Canadiens in five games and will open the next series at Pittsburgh on Friday.

The nine-year veteran discovered the severity of the injury after a hospital visit Thursday morning. Timonen said the doctor told him if the clot improves in the next two weeks, there would be a small chance he could play again this season. Still, Timonen knows a return to the lineup is unlikely.

''It's the most disappointing thing in my hockey life, for sure,'' he said.

Timonen is the Flyers' top defenseman and played a crucial role in shutting down Washington's Alex Ovechkin for most of the seven-game, first-round series. Timonen was fantastic at anticipating plays, attacking Ovechkin with the puck and taking away space to create easy goals.

He was just as effective against Montreal's Alex Kovalev, and was being counted on to limit Pittsburgh's top forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

''How many times in your lifetime do you get to play in the conference finals or the Stanley Cup finals?'' Timonen said.

Holmgren said Timonen, who didn't make the trip to Pittsburgh, is injured right where he ties up the skate.

''Obviously, you can't replace a player that does what Kimmo does for us,'' Holmgren said.

Jaroslav Modry or Ryan Parent will fill Timonen's roster spot.

Timonen was also injured in Game 3 against the Capitals when he slammed into the net and crashed his right shoulder against the camera mounted inside. He didn't miss any games.

Timonen played Game 5 against the Canadiens, and felt numbness in his toes and foot that never went away. Timonen, who has six assists in the postseason, is on blood thinners. He had a similar injury earlier in his career with Nashville, but said that clot was much more painful and noticeable than this one.

Holmgren said the Flyers weren't taking any chances.

''If he gets hit again, a lot of problems could arise,'' he said.

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