Hockey Today May 11

Hockey Today May 11

Talbot could return to Pens on Sunday
May 10, 2008

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Pittsburgh Penguins center Max Talbot, sidelined with a broken right foot for three games, may play Sunday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Philadelphia.

Talbot broke his foot while blocking a shot in Game 3 of the second-round series against the Rangers. He returned to practice Saturday, and coach Michel Therrien said he will be evaluated following Sunday's pre-game skate.

``He looked pretty good,'' Therrien said. ``We're going to sit down with him and see how he feels.''

Talbot has one goal and an assist for two points in seven playoff games and is a plus-1

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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 Sunday when they meet at Mellon Arena.

Evgeni Malkin scored two goals in leading the Penguins to a 4-2 win over the Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final on Friday.

The Penguins won the game as -210 favorites, while the six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Petr Sykora and Sidney Crosby had the other goals for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves for the win.

Mike Richards had both the Flyers goals, while Martin Biron faced just 22 shots in the loss.

The Flyers were +195 underdogs in the contest.

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

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 3-7
Before playing Tampa Bay are 6-4
After playing Pittsburgh are 6-4
After a loss are 6-4

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 5-5
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing Philadelphia are 4-6
After a win are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Philadelphia's last 8 games when playing Pittsburgh
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Philadelphia's last 7 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Pittsburgh is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games
Pittsburgh is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Pittsburgh's last 8 games when playing Philadelphia

Next up:
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, Tuesday, May 13

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Sunday's best NHL bet
COVERS.com

Philadelphia at Pittsburgh -215, 5

The Flyers were off their game on Friday night, but you shouldn't be all that surprised. The team learned shortly before game time that their top defenseman, Kimmo Timonen would be out for the rest of the playoffs due to a bloodclot in his ankle. That seemed to throw off their rhythm for the whole game.

The major problem the Flyers had was breaking out of their own zone. Time after time, Philadelphia coaches saw a gap being created in the neutral zone as forwards skated down the ice too fast and defensemen were too slow brining up the puck. That situation led to turnovers in the neutral zone and a lot of room for Pittsburgh’s forwards to operate and create scoring chances.

Fortunately for Philadelphia backers, that problem can be fixed.

"We had a meeting this morning and addressed it," Flyers head coach John Stevens said after Saturday's practice. "We get out of our end, we get through the neutral zone, and we spend more time in the offensive zone.

"We didn't spend nearly enough time in the offensive zone [Friday] night because of it. And we spent too much time on our own end because of it. That needs to change."

Pittsburgh’s Evegeni Malkin was another major issue for Philadelphia in Game 1 and while they won’t be able to completely shut down the shifty Russian, they can certainly defend him with more intensity than they did on Friday. The Flyers’ defencemen gave Malkin far too much space when he was carrying the puck because they were obviously tentative to attack him.

"Did you see how the defense reacted every time [Malkin] had the puck?" Penguins forward Gary Roberts told the Toronto Sun after the game. "They were back-pedalling, afraid of making mistakes. You play that way, you can't win."

You can bet that Stevens also addressed that issue at Saturday’s practice and Malkin won’t get nearly as much room to skate with the puck in Game 2.

Pick: Flyers

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NHL LONG SHEET

PHILADELPHIA (50-33-0-12, 112 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (56-28-0-8, 120 pts.)

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

Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 14-11 (+5.1 Units) against the spread versus PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 14-11-0 straight up against PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
16 of 24 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+7.1 Units)

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NHL SHORT SHEET

Eastern Conference Playoffs
Conference Finals
Game Two
Flyers Lead, 1-0
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 7:35 ET

Philadelphia:
4-9 SU at Pittsburgh
5-23 SU revenging road loss by 2+ goals

Pittsburgh:
32-13 SU as home favorite
10-2 SU in Game 2's

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2008 NHL playoffs

Penguins are 9-1 in playoffs this season, 6-0 at home, allowing total of 11 goals; they are just 4-5 vs Philly this year, with home team winning last six meetings, with 12 of last 14 series games going over total. Flyers are 4-4 on playoff road. Philly lost Game 1 in first tw playoff series, then won next three in the first round and the next four in Montreal series.

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Trend Sheet

7:30 PM PHILADELPHIA vs. PITTSBURGH
Philadelphia is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 6 games
Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Pittsburgh's last 8 games when playing Philadelphia

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