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This week's NHL betting notes

This week's NHL betting notes

This week's NHL betting notes
By Doc's Sports

Rough Week For Pittsburgh Fans

The Pens got manhandled by Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals, and their two big stars didn't look nearly as good as Washington's one. And just as the loss was about to hit the books, Sidney Crosby limped off the ice with a knee injury. He missed practice on Thursday and the game against the Ducks on Friday.

He was able to return to action on Saturday, but Pittsburgh backers should monitor his play to see if the injury is bothering him more than he's letting on.

Pittsburgh has won three of their last four. It remains to be seen, though, if that's a sign that they are ready to live up to their potential, or just a delay to the inevitable firing of its coach so the team can find the direction that is clearly lost this year.

Luongo Returns

The good news for Vancouver fans is that goalie Roberto Luongo has finally returned to action. The bad news for bettors is that he has been truly lousy in his first two games back.

This is Luongo's first serious injury, so we can't compare his struggles now to what has happened in the past. He missed nearly two months of action and rust should have been expected.

The fact that he is a goalie with a bad groin, though, really makes you wonder if there is more to this story.

The Canucks have been favored at odds of -135 or more in six of their last eight games and they have lost all six, so this is probably a good time to back off and let the dust settle on the coast a bit.

Which Flames Are The Real Ones?

Halfway through December the Flames were frustratingly inconsistent, and rumors were flying that coach Mike Keenan could be on his way out the door. Calgary then earned 23 of a possible 26 points including two wins in nine days over San Jose.

The Flames followed that streak up with two stinkers against Phoenix and Colorado. It's not just that they lost - that happens to every team - it's that they looked so bad doing it. Calgary played so poorly - unfocused and uninspired - in the weekend losses that you would never believe that the club was good enough to get 23 points all season, never mind in 13 games.

A Blast From The Past

San Jose has added a new player to their roster, but he certainly isn't young blood. After 23 games in the AHL, 43-year-old Claude Lemieux is back in the NHL.

This is the culmination of an unlikely comeback bid. He hadn't played in the NHL since 2003. He was still hungry, though, and his play in Worcester showed that he still has game - he had 11 points in 23 games, and was plus-2.

Lemieux is reportedly in great shape, but it's far from certain that he will stick with the Sharks. I like the gamble a lot, though. The Sharks are poised to go deep in the playoffs and experience never hurts when you are trying to do that.

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