Unstoppable Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have been unstoppable in the first two games of this postseason. Recent history suggests that could change in Calgary.

The Red Wings are looking to take a 3-0 series lead over the Flames, but would need to win for the first time at the Pengrowth Saddledome this season as the teams continue their Western Conference quarterfinal series Tuesday night.

Oddsmakers have made Detroit -150 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5ov total goals (View NHL Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -150 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Top-seeded Detroit easily won the first two games, taking early leads each time and outscoring Calgary 7-2. A pair of matchups in Calgary, however, could easily change the momentum.

Since a 4-2 loss on April 29, 2004, the Flames are 4-0-1 at home against the Red Wings - including a 1-0 overtime win on May 4, 2004 in a decisive Game 6 of the teams' second-round playoff series. Calgary is 2-0-0 at home against Detroit this season, holding the Red Wings to one goal in each contest.

The Flames won an NHL-high 30 home games during the regular season.

"They're very good in their building," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We really wanted to take care of our business at home."

Calgary will have to avoid digging itself another early hole if its wants to continue its dominance on home ice. The Flames seemed to unravel in the opening period of a 3-1 loss in Game 2 on Sunday, getting penalized twice for cross-checking in a 2-minute span.

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom scored within the first 4 minutes of the game for the Red Wings, with Lidstrom's goal coming on a power play. Calgary took five penalties in the opening 8:13.

Detroit led 2-0 early in the first period thanks in part to getting a power-play goal for the second straight game, and recorded two goals even quicker than the 8 1/2 minutes it took in a 4-1 win Thursday night.

Datsyuk scored two goals in the first four periods of this series after going 26 playoff games without one. He led the team with 87 points (27 goals, 60 assists) in the regular season, but has just one goal and five points in 13 career games at Calgary.

Red Wings rookie Valtteri Filppula had a goal in each of the first two games after scoring 10 in 73 regular season contests. Filppula has produced despite totaling just under 16 minutes.

"He probably wonders why the coach doesn't play him more," Babcock said. "The coach wonders why, too."

Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi (concussion, neck) has missed the first two games, but hopes to play Tuesday. Bertuzzi is productive when healthy, but missed 66 games with Florida due to back spasms before being traded to the Red Wings in February.

Bertuzzi's return could add to Miikka Kiprusoff's considerable problems.

The Flames goaltender turned away 21 shots in the first period Sunday, and finished with 48 saves. He faced 46 shots in the series opener.

"We're just being dumb out there," Flames forward Alex Tanguay said. "You've got to work smart, especially against a team like this that has so many skills and so much talent.

"We're allowing 50 shots a game and you're not going to win any games allowing 50 shots."

Kiprusoff, though, is 3-0-1 with a 0.98 goals-against average in four games against the Red Wings in Calgary over the past two seasons.

Flames leading scorer Jarome Iginla has been shadowed by top Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and has no points and just two shots in the series.

"Shots aren't easy to come by against them," Iginla said. "So you've got to hit your shots when you have the chances."

Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr (knee) and forward Jeff Friesen (torso) were in the lineup Sunday after missing Game 1 with injuries, but Regehr didn't play in the third period because of what the team called a leg injury.

Calgary has lost six straight, including the final four games of the regular season.

Game 4 will be Thursday at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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