Hockey Today May 18

Hockey Today May 18

Sunday's best NHL bet
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Philadelphia at Pittsburgh -260, 5½


Word has been leaking out of the Flyers dressing room since Friday evening that Kimmo Timonen could be back for this game. The All-Star defenseman has been out with a blood clot in his ankle for the entire series, but now there’s legitimate hope that he could be back on the ice Sunday.

"At least now I know there's no danger," the 33-year-old Timonen said Friday after skating on his own for 35 minutes. "It's just a matter of how much pain I can take. It takes only 15 minutes to skate, and I can't feel my toes. That is the biggest thing. When that happens, the pain comes in, but I'm sure we've got some medicine for pain."

Timonen could be a huge difference-maker in this series. The Flyers learned in their Game 4 win that a little aggression and physical play could turn the series in their favor and the skilled Penguins players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin can be thrown off their games if harassed. Physical play is Timonen’s specialty and even if he doesn’t play major minutes, his presence could be huge for Philadelphia.

On top of that, the other edge for Philly tonight is the play of Martin Biron. The veteran goaltender was brilliant in Game 4, stopping 36 shots – many in spectacular fashion. If Biron continues playing that well, the Flyers could make this a very profitable win for bettors.

Pick: Flyers

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Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will both be trying to pick up a postseason win on Sunday when they battle at Mellon Arena.

The Flyers avoided a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference final with a 4-2 win over the Penguins on Thursday in Game 4 as +160 underdogs. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Joffrey Lupul potted two goals, while Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere also scored for the Flyers. Scott Hartnell pocketed three assists in the win.

Jordan Staal scored twice in the third period for the Penguins, who were favored at -180 in that game.

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

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 4-6
Before playing Tampa Bay are 6-4
After playing Pittsburgh are 5-5
After a win are 6-4

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Sunday are 4-6
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing Philadelphia are 4-6
After a loss are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 5 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 14 of Philadelphia's last 17 games when playing Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
Pittsburgh is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games

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NHL LONG SHEET

PHILADELPHIA (51-35-0-12, 114 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (58-29-0-8, 124 pts.) - 5/18/2008, 3:05 PM
Top Trends for this game.
PITTSBURGH is 58-37 ATS (+98.9 Units) in all games this season.
PITTSBURGH is 38-19 ATS (+7.1 Units) second half of the season this season.
PITTSBURGH is 15-4 ATS (+9.1 Units) when playing with 2 days rest this season.
PITTSBURGH is 29-19 ATS (+5.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
PITTSBURGH is 31-20 ATS (+59.0 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
PITTSBURGH is 74-95 ATS (-38.2 Units) in home games after allowing 4 goals or more since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 16-12 (+5.3 Units) against the spread versus PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 16-12-0 straight up against PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
18 of 27 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+7.8 Units)

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NHL SHORT SHEET

Eastern Conference Playoffs
Conference Finals
Game Five
Penguins Lead, 3-1
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 3:05 ET

Philadelphia:
4-10 SU at Pittsburgh
11-4 Under in playoffs

Pittsburgh:
16-5 SU off a road loss
15-4 SU playing with 2 days rest

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Trend Sheet

3:00 PM PHILADELPHIA vs. PITTSBURGH
Philadelphia is 8-15 SU in its last 23 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 5 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home

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