Hockey Today May 28

Hockey Today May 28

NHL SHORT SHEET

Stanley Cup Finals
Game One
Red Wings Lead, 1-0
Pittsburgh at Detroit, 8:00 ET


Detroit:
14-1 SU in Stanley Cup Finals
8-0 SU off BB wins by 3+ goals

Pittsburgh:
0-4 SU vs. Detroit
10-2 Under off BB losses

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Trend Sheet

DETROIT vs. PITTSBURGH

Detroit is 12-2 SU in its last 14 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games
Pittsburgh is 1-7 SU in its last 8 games when playing Detroit
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing Detroit

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Wednesday's best NHL bets
Covers.com

Detroit vs. Pittsburgh -140, 5

The game was barely half a period old Monday night when bettors who had the Penguins began tearing up their tickets and changing the channel.

The Wings jumped out to a 2-0 lead and the Pens hadn't even gotten close enough to Chris Osgood to see what color pads he was wearing. And by the time the game was over, hockey followers were no longer asking who would win the Stanley Cup or even in how many games - they were just wondering if Pittsburgh will even be able to score a goal in this series.

The Wings won Game 2, 3-0, after claiming Game 1 by a score of 4-0, and there hasn't been too much from Pittsburgh?s side that resembles a quality scoring chance. Not surprisingly, the over/under has dropped for Game 3, but what is surprising is that the Penguins are favored.

A change in scenery from the Motor City to the Steel City is clearly the reason for the line shift and perhaps a vote of confidence from hockey personality Don Cherry didn't hurt either. Cherry said he expects the Pens to be a different team Wednesday night and give the Wings a tougher shot.

The crowd at Mellon Arena has helped lift the Penguins to an incredible 8-0 record in these playoffs, while three of Detroit's four playoff losses have come on the road.

The key will be getting some production. Six of Detroit's last seven games have seen only five goals or fewer, giving "under" bettors some extra cash.

The Pens could use some help from their season-leading scorer, Evgeni Malkin, who had no shots in Game 2 and he's now minus-3 in the series. Sidney Crosby, meanwhile, has been playing tough but hasn't had much support in the offensive zone.

Detroit is getting scoring from all kinds of places and the club's third and fourth lines are far outplaying their counterparts on the other side. Brad Stuart scored his first goal of the playoffs to open the scoring Monday night and that's just the kind of spark Pittsburgh could use Wednesday.

If trends are any indicator, the last three games at Mellon Arena have gone over the total.

Pick: Red Wings

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Wednesday Playoff Gameday

Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins


Detroit's other winter team also cruised to a victory at home on Monday night, as the Red Wings blanked the Penguins 3-0 in the second game of the Stanley Cup final. The Wings have yet to allow a goal in this series - they got past Pittsburgh 4-0 in the series opener on Saturday night.

Brad Stuart, Tomas Holmstrom, and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Red Wings in their Game 2 victory, while Johan Franzen returned from his head injury and contributed an assist. Chris Osgood stopped all 22 Pittsburgh shots to earn his second straight shutout, while Penguins counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves between the pipes in the loss.

Pittsburgh scoring star Sidney Crosby managed six shots on goal in the contest but couldn't put one past Osgood. Evgeni Malkin, on the other hand, was held without a shot on goal and was a -2 on the night. Veteran forward Gary Roberts returned to the lineup for Pittsburgh and had a pair of shots and 14 PIMs.

Despite Detroit's domination so far the oddsmakers think the Penguins aren't dead yet - they were opened as -145 home favorites for Game 3. The total was opened at 5 goals.

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Hockey Today

Detroit at Pittsburgh (8 p.m. EDT). The Penguins are 8-0 at home this postseason and have won 16 straight there overall, but return home down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup finals.

SHUTOUTS

Pittsburgh became the fourth team to fail to score a goal through the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, losing 3-0 to Detroit on Monday night. The previous two, Anaheim against New Jersey in 2003 and the Red Wings against Toronto in 1945, both extended the series to seven games before losing. Detroit's Chris Osgood has 13 career postseason shutouts and a scoreless streak of 137 minutes, 33 seconds.

STRANGERS

Detroit hasn't played in Pittsburgh since winning 2-0 in a regular season game on Oct. 7, 2006. The Red Wings and Penguins meet there for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night.

CHANGE OF PACE

The last time the Penguins were shut out in consecutive playoff games was in the 2001 Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey, when the Devils beat them 3-0 in Game 3 and 5-0 in Game 4 in Pittsburgh. This is the first time in the Penguins' three Stanley Cup finals appearances they have been down by two games. They swept Chicago in 1992 and beat Minnesota in six games in 1991, when they lost two of the first three games but won the next three.

PROTECTING THE LEAD

Detroit has trailed only 122 minutes, 2 seconds of 1,081:48 in the playoffs this postseason - 11 percent of the.

STICKING AROUND

Washington re-signed right wing Matt Bradley to a three-year, $3 million contract Tuesday. Bradley had seven goals, 11 assists and 74 penalty minutes in 77 games last season.

SPEAKING

``I guess you're trying to send a message or whatever. To me, the game's going to be won in between the whistles. And you're not going to back us off one inch. It's impossible. You're not going to back up Pavel (Datsyuk). And you have to decide for your own team what you think helps you win.'' - Detroit coach Mike Babcock on Pittsburgh's aggressiveness after losing Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night.

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Red Wings confident, not cocky heading to Pitt
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

PITTSBURGH (AP) -There is no question the Detroit Red Wings have been dominant through two games of the Stanley Cup finals.

So far, their defensive perfection hasn't gone to their heads.

''It's only two games. We've got to stay humble,'' forward Johan Franzen said. ''But they're two solid games.''

Indeed.

The Red Wings stormed out to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night and then made it a double play Monday with a 3-0 win to make it a clean sweep at Joe Louis Arena. Now oddsmakers have them set as a small +105 underdog with a total of five goals Wednesday night.

And to think, Detroit might be even better on the road. After going 25-12-4 away from home in the regular season, the second-best mark in the NHL, the Red Wings are 5-3 in the playoffs outside of Michigan.

With another win Wednesday in the Steel City, the Red Wings will need only one more to capture the Cup for the 11th time overall and fourth time in 11 seasons.

''I say this all the time, if you just live in the moment, if you enjoy today and prepare and then we get up tomorrow, we enjoy and prepare tomorrow, we have a chance, I believe, to be successful,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday. ''That's going to be our focus, like it always is.

''I think we have a real professional group. I think we're a pretty consistent hockey club. We've had our moments, but I think we've been pretty consistent at playoff time.''

Detroit took a 2-0 lead over Nashville in the opening round before dropping two road games. The Red Wings rebounded to take the final two and move on. The injury-depleted Colorado Avalanche didn't put up much of a fight and were ushered on in four straight.

A seemingly insurmountable 3-0 edge over Dallas was trimmed to striking range when the Stars extended the series at home in Game 4 and then handed the Red Wings their only defeat in Detroit during the playoffs to force a sixth game.

Just when it seemed momentum might have shifted away from the Red Wings, they celebrated on enemy ice with a series-clinching win for the third time in this postseason.

''I've said this all along, every year,'' Babcock said. ''It's boring and redundant, but the game you're playing is the most important one of the year.''

Detroit will face new challenges in the next two games when the Penguins will have the last line change and will look to get Sidney Crosby's line away from the potent trio - on offense and defense - of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom.

Factor in a fantastic defensive core led by Nicklas Lidstrom, and the Red Wings have made Penguins puck passages through the neutral zone nothing more than a pipe dream.

They've shut down Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and still had enough left to keep the rest of the Penguins pointless, too.

''I don't think they look frustrated,'' Lidstrom said. ''No, they're still trying hard. We're trying to have the forwards come back real hard against them, take their time and space away, especially around the blue lines. We've been able to do that.''

And when the Penguins have gotten into the Red Wings zone, Chris Osgood has taken care of the rest. He faced his toughest action in the first period of Game 1 when the Penguins had four power plays and generated eight shots - five on one advantage.

He needed to make only seven saves the rest of the way to earn the shutout. Another 22 saves on Monday made it three blankings in these playoffs and 13 overall in Osgood's postseason career.

Not only do the Red Wings have a penchant for possessing the puck, they are pretty good with the lead, too. Detroit has trailed only 122 minutes, 2 seconds of 1,081:48 in the playoffs.

''Guys are playing hard,'' forward Kris Draper said. ''We're being very responsible at both ends of the rink, and we've got guys that play our system. We're playing it great right now. Obviously we're excited with where we are but we're going to continue to say it. We've only won two games and the next two are going to be the toughest.''

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Detroit Red Wings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The fans at Mellon Arena will be treated to a playoff game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins when they take their seats on Wednesday night.

Chris Osgood stopped 22 shots to earn the shutout as the Red Wings defeated the Penguins 3-0 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup final on Monday night.

Detroit won as -175 home favorites as the game played under the 5.5-goal total set by oddsmakers.

Valtteri Filppula and Brad Stuart had a goal and an assist apiece for the Red Wings, who also got a marker from Tomas Holmstrom in the payday.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves for Pittsburgh, while Sidney Crosby couldn't find the back of net despite six shots on goal for the Penguins.

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

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-4
Before playing Edmonton are 5-5
After playing Pittsburgh are 4-4-2
After a win are 9-1

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-4-1
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing Detroit are 4-4-1
After a loss are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
Detroit is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing Pittsburgh
Detroit is 12-2 SU in its last 14 games
Detroit is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games when playing Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing Detroit
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing at home against Detroit
Pittsburgh is 12-4 SU in its last 16 games

Next up:
Pittsburgh home to Detroit, Saturday, May 31

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