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Hockey Today May 26

Hockey Today May 26

Game 2 Preview
By Judd Hall

If there was a moment when youth was outclassed more by experience than what we saw on Saturday night in the Stanley Cup Final opener, a 4-0 win for the Red Wings as $1.65 home favorites, I’ve yet to be made aware.

Pittsburgh’s inexperience was apparent from the word “go” as netminder Marc-Andre Fleury tripped and fell while leading his club onto the ice. Luckily for the Penguins, Detroit was equally nervous in the opening period of the match.

These jitters were best documented by the shots on goal in the first period, 12 for Pittsburgh and 11 for the Wings. The Pens appeared to have a little momentum on their side as they had three power plays, one of which nullified a sure lamp lighter by Detroit.

Much was made about forward Johan Franzen missing Game 1 with concussion-like symptoms for the Wings. His being unable to play meant Detroit had to find someone else to provide the secondary scoring that Franzen has done during the postseason, picking up 15 points.

Franzen’s replacement for the evening came in the form of former Penguin winger Mikael Samuelsson. The Swede visited the red light district twice in the first game of the series. Before you start to think he’ll be a surprise Conn Smythe candidate, remember that he’s only posted 11 points and a plus-seven rating.

Even though the final score was lopsided, this game was much more competitive on the defensive side of the ice…if albeit in different situations.

Fleury may not have looked it in his Stanley Cup Final debut, but he kept his team in the game as much as he could. The former No. 1 overall pick stopped 32 of 36 shots. The goals he gave up to Samuelsson were largely due to poor shift management on Pittsburgh’s part and a break down by the blue line late in the game.

Detroit’s defense was tight in drawing first blood. The Red Wings swarmed around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to the tune of allowing just four SOG between the two. Their blue line work helped lighten the load for Chris Osgood, who stopped all 19 shots faced. Instead of having to win the game for the Wings, Osgood only had to be a goaltender.

There is no word as to whether Franzen will play. He participated in the practices on Friday and looked like he was up to full speed, yet held out for the opener.

The ageless wonders of each club also sat out in Game 1. Pittsburgh’s Gary Roberts declared himself healthy for the series opener, but didn’t dress on Saturday night. 46-year old Chris Chelios has been riding the pine since the Western Conference Final clincher, but is ready for duty.

Versus will broadcast Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday at 8:05 pm EDT.

Gambling Notes:

-- Detroit is 21-9 SU and 14-16 PL in Game 2’s since the 1996 playoffs. The ‘over’ is 14-11-5 during that stretch as well.

-- The sportsbooks have tabbed the Red Wings as $1.65 home favorites (risk $165 to win $100) with the total coming in at 5½ once again.

-- Bettors should also take a look at the puck line for the Penguins. Pittsburgh is listed as $2.00 favorites to keep within a goal of the Wings when all is said and done.

-- Pittsburgh is 8-8 SU and 9-7 PL away from Mellon Arena since March 1. The ‘under’ is 9-5-2 in this situation.

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Re: Hockey Today May 26

Monday’s best NHL bet

Pittsburgh at Detroit -165, 5½

Hey Pittsburgh, welcome to the NHL Stanley Cup final.

The Penguins were worked over in Game 1 and now can only hope that the 4-0 spanking was what they needed to get back on track. But you see this kind of final a lot in sports – the upstart youngsters against seasoned veterans and most times young teams need to lose before they learn how to win.

Not only are the Red Wings a better team from top to bottom, but they do know what it’s like to be just a handful of wins away from a Cup – Pittsburgh doesn’t. Expect Michel Therrien to put Gary Roberts back in the lineup to stir things up a bit for Game 2, which will give the team a boost.

However, it may not make much difference. The Penguins need early goals to keep their heads above water in this series and they will be competitive if they keep their composure, but betting against Detroit at home is a hard sell.

Pick: Detroit

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Re: Hockey Today May 26

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings scored three times in the third period on Saturday, as they shut out the Penguins 4-0 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Red Wings won the game as -160 favorites, while the four goals fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Mikael Samuelsson scored twice, while Daniel Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg had the other markers in the win.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots in a losing effort for the Penguins, who were +140 underdogs.

Team records:
Pittsburgh: 47-27-8
Detroit: 54-21-7

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-4-2
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing Detroit are 4-4-1
After a loss are 9-1

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing Edmonton are 5-5
After playing Pittsburgh are 4-4-2
After a win are 9-1

A few trends to consider:
Pittsburgh is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Pittsburgh's last 9 games when playing on the road against Detroit
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Pittsburgh's last 11 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 6 games
Detroit is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home
Detroit is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing Pittsburgh
Detroit is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games
Detroit is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh

Next up:
Detroit at Pittsburgh, Wednesday, May 28

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Re: Hockey Today May 26

Red Wings looking at changes for Game 2

DETROIT (AP) -Nicklas Lidstrom is looking for more from the Detroit Red Wings as they head into Game 2 as -165 favorites.

Already a three-time Stanley Cup champion, Lidstrom never settles for good enough. Sure the Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, but that doesn't mean Hockeytown has seen the best from the hometown club.

It's true that Detroit escaped from the first period with a 0-0 deadlock Saturday night in the series opener. The Penguins came out hard and fast and pressured the Red Wings into taking a handful of penalties. The penalty-killers were OK, goalie Chris Osgood was exceptional again.

Once the Red Wings got into their game over the final 40 minutes, Pittsburgh really never stood a chance. Detroit gave up 12 shots in the first period - including eight during four short-handed situations. After that, the Penguins had to settle for seven shots and one power-play chance while trying to dig out of a hole.

''We were able to take away lanes. They still had some shots though,'' said Lidstrom, the favorite to be named the NHL's top defenseman for a sixth time. ''They're really good at moving the puck around and finding open lanes. Just different options that they have that you have to be aware of.

''You don't want to put yourself in that position where you have to kill a lot of penalties early on. If they get a goal early, it could be a different game.''

It is that push-toward-perfection attitude that propels Lidstrom. He was third on the team in scoring with 70 points in the regular season, along with a staggering plus-40 rating.

Lidstrom has 11 more points in the postseason, and would've had his third goal if Tomas Holmstrom hadn't been whistled for goalie interference in the first period Saturday.

''He doesn't do anything wrong,'' Osgood said Sunday. ''I call him the Peyton Manning of the NHL because he gets the puck behind the net, he sees the whole ice, and he never makes a bad pass. ... He just never misses. He's a perfect player. That's what I call him, too. I've got a couple of nicknames for him.''

Osgood can afford to be glowing in his assessment. Detroit's strong defense, which doesn't just come from those on the blue line, has helped him go 11-2 with a 1.48 goals-against average in 14 games since taking over for Dominik Hasek in the first round.

The Red Wings' top line features Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who both finished in the NHL's top six in scoring during the season and are finalists to be the league's best defensive forward.

Zetterberg and Datsyuk took the job of being matched against Pittsburgh's top line centered by Sidney Crosby and pitched a shutout in Game 1. The Penguins never adjusted to get away from such a potent counterattack.

''What are you going to do, tell Sid he's not playing?'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Sunday. ''You play your players. I do the same thing. ... It's not like Crosby and his line and (Evgeni) Malkin and his line didn't have chances. If you go through the chances, for us we were outchanced in the first period. They had four power plays, and they outchanced us. They outshot us and outchanced us.

''If we don't have some puck luck in front of our net and things don't go our way, maybe they're up, and then the game's different. So from our perspective, we've got to tighten up.''

Detroit won at least the first two games in each of its opening three playoff series, and can again take full advantage of starting at home during Game 2 on Monday night. The Red Wings have the philosophy that holding onto the puck not only gives them the best chance to score, but in turn keeps the opposition from generating its own offense.

Limiting turnovers keeps opposing scoring chances down, and having skill players that can maintain possession of the puck makes the task that much easier.

''We're real fortunate,'' Babcock said. ''We have an excellent puck-moving defense and we have really good centers. When you have that, you have a chance to have the puck a fair bit.''

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Re: Hockey Today May 26

Hockey Today

Pittsburgh at Detroit (8 p.m.) The Penguins try to even the series with the Red Wings when the Stanley Cup finals resume with Game 2.


Detroit's Chris Osgood's 19-save shutout of Pittsburgh on Saturday night in Game 1 was the first blanking in a Stanley Cup finals opener since New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur blanked Anaheim in 2003. Osgood's 12th career playoff shutout tied him with former Red Wings great Terry Sawchuk for ninth most in NHL history. Teammate Dominik Hasek is fifth with 14.


Pittsburgh trails in a series for the first time this postseason after dropping Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday night, 4-0 to Detroit. The Penguins are now 12-3 this postseason after taking 3-0 leads in each of their previous series.


One day after his 42nd birthday, Pittsburgh forward Gary Roberts skated with his teammates Saturday morning and spent a long time on ice despite learning Friday that coach Michel Therrien planned to sit him for the Stanley Cup finals opener, a 4-0 loss. Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios, the NHL's oldest player at 46, also put in some quality skating Saturday before being scratched for the second straight game. Therrien said Roberts would play Game 2 Monday night in place of enforcer Georges Laraque.


``He doesn't do anything wrong. I call him the Peyton Manning of the NHL because he gets the puck behind the net, he sees the whole ice, and he never makes a bad pass. ... He just never misses. He's a perfect player. That's what I call him, too. I've got a couple of nicknames for him.'' - Detroit goalie Chris Osgood on five-time Norris Trophy winning defenseman Niklas Lidstrom.

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Re: Hockey Today May 26

Monday NHL Playoff Gameday

Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings

The Penguins rolled through the Eastern Conference side of the NHL playoffs, but it looks like they'll find the going tougher against the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final. Detroit got a pair of goals from Mikael Samuelsson on Saturday night as they rolled to a 4-0 win in the opening game of the championship series; Samuelsson had scored just two goals over the first three rounds of the playoffs. Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for the Red Wings late in the third period to secure the victory. Detroit's stifling defense allowed netminder Chris Osgood to have a relaxing evening - he had to make just 19 saves for the shutout. Pens counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 of 36 shots in the loss. Detroit forward Johan Franzen sat out Game 1 with his head injury, while veterans Chris Chelios (Wings) and Gary Roberts (Penguins) were both scratches.

The oddsmakers like the Red Wings' chances of taking a 2-0 lead in this series, as they opened as -170 home favorites for Monday night. The total for the game opened at 5.5.

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