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Cnotes Friday's NHL Best Bets !

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On 11/11/2011 06:11 PM in NHL
NHL
Armadillo's Write-Up

Friday, November 11

Hot teams
-- Devils won their last three games, allowing seven goals.
-- Dallas Stars won last four games, scoring 20 goals. Pittsburgh won its last three home games, allowing four goals.
-- Rangers won their last five games, outscoring opponents 18-8.
-- Buffalo won its last three games, all by one goal, scoring 11 goals.
-- Detroit won its last two games, 5-0/5-2. Oilers won seven of last nine games, but scored 3 or less goals in all seven road games (3-4).
-- Canucks won four of their last six games.

Cold teams
-- Washington lost four of its last six games.
-- Hurricanes lost seven of their last nine games.
-- Ottawa lost its last four games, scoring eight goals.
-- Flames lost four of their last six home games. Chicago lost three of its last four games overall.
-- Ducks lost their last six games, outscored 22-8.

Totals
-- Last five Washington games went over the total.
-- Four of last five Dallas games went over the total.
-- Four of last five Carolina games went over the total.
-- Four of last five Ottawa games stayed under the total.
-- Four of last five Red Wing games stayed under the total.
-- Five of last six Calgary games stayed under the total.
-- Under is 7-3-1 in last eleven Anaheim games. Over is 4-1-1 in last six Vancouver games.

Series records
-- Washington won four of last five games against the Devils.
-- Penguins won four of last five games against Detroit.
-- Hurricanes won three of last four visits to Manhattan.
-- Sabres won last five games vs Ottawa, with three of the five wins in either OT or SO.
-- Red Wings won their last five games against Edmonton.
-- Blackhawks won eight of last ten games against Calgary.
-- Canucks won four of last six games against Anaheim.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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11/11/2011 06:12 PM
NHL

Friday, November 11

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Trend Report
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7:00 PM
CAROLINA vs. NY RANGERS
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Carolina's last 10 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Carolina's last 5 games
NY Rangers are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games when playing Carolina
The total has gone UNDER in 14 of the NY Rangers last 20 games when playing Carolina

7:00 PM
DALLAS vs. PITTSBURGH
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Dallas's last 5 games
Dallas is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games at home
Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Dallas

7:00 PM
WASHINGTON vs. NEW JERSEY
Washington is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games
Washington is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing New Jersey
New Jersey is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Washington
New Jersey is 12-4 SU in its last 16 games when playing at home against Washington

7:30 PM
EDMONTON vs. DETROIT
Edmonton is 4-13 SU in its last 17 games on the road
Edmonton is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Detroit
Detroit is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games

7:30 PM
OTTAWA vs. BUFFALO
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Ottawa's last 5 games
Ottawa is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
Buffalo is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Ottawa
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Buffalo's last 5 games when playing at home against Ottawa

8:30 PM
CALGARY vs. CHICAGO
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Calgary's last 5 games when playing on the road against Chicago
Calgary is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Chicago
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago's last 5 games when playing at home against Calgary

10:00 PM
VANCOUVER vs. ANAHEIM
Vancouver is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Vancouver's last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Anaheim's last 5 games when playing Vancouver
Anaheim is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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11/11/2011 06:13 PM
NHL

Friday, November 11

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Ice picks: Friday's best NHL bets
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Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils (+115, 5.5)

If there’s one thing that last season’s HBO 24/7 series taught us it’s that Bruce Boudreau isn’t afraid to let his team have it on occasion.

After a listless 5-2 loss to Dallas, Boudreau put his club through a nasty 90-minute practice filled with sprints and battle drills on Wednesday.

“As far as the skating, if we’re not going to work as hard as we anticipate or thought we should have the night before, we’ll work a little bit harder today,” Boudreau told reporters.

They had to know it was coming. Veteran forward Mike Knuble referred to his club as a bunch of “clowns” after the loss and that collapse is exactly what the team has vowed to avoid this season.

That means New Jersey is going to get an honest effort out of Washington as the two teams open a home-and-home set. Nobody likes the dreaded bag skate.

Pick: Capitals


Ottawa Senators at Buffalo Sabres (-200, 5.5)

Everyone’s been wondering what is going on with Ryan Miller lately, but Buffalo’s problems run a lot deeper than his struggles between the pipes.

After being benched for a consecutive starts, Miller gave up five more goals Monday when he was given another start, though Buffalo did bail him out with a 6-5 win in overtime. While he certainly wasn’t at his sharpest, Buffalo’s defense left him high and dry throughout the game.

"As a goaltender your job is to clean up mistakes," Miller told reporters. "I need to get myself in position to make a couple saves there. It does make it difficult when [opponents] get time and a look from in tight. They had a few of the goals from the slot. It's my job to try to work with that and [the defense's] job to start to figure out how to minimize those."

The good news is that there are no problems with Buffalo’s offense. The Sabres’ power play scored four times on Friday and should be able to capitalize on Ottawa’s shoddy penalty killing.

Pick: Over


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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11/11/2011 06:14 PM
NHL
Long Sheet

Friday, November 11

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WASHINGTON (9-4-0-0, 18 pts.) at NEW JERSEY (7-5-0-1, 15 pts.) - 11/11/2011, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
NEW JERSEY is 17-32 ATS (-18.7 Units) first half of the season over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
NEW JERSEY is 4-4 (+0.7 Units) against the spread versus WASHINGTON over the last 3 seasons
NEW JERSEY is 4-4-0 straight up against WASHINGTON over the last 3 seasons
5 of 8 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+1.5 Units)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DALLAS (11-3-0-0, 22 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (9-3-0-3, 21 pts.) - 11/11/2011, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
DALLAS is 11-2 ATS (+13.1 Units) in all games this season.
DALLAS is 11-2 ATS (+13.1 Units) first half of the season this season.
DALLAS is 14-6 ATS (+7.7 Units) after a non-conference game over the last 2 seasons.
DALLAS is 14-7 ATS (+6.9 Units) in non-conference games over the last 2 seasons.
DALLAS is 30-18 ATS (+48.6 Units) in road games after 3 or more consecutive overs since 1996.
DALLAS is 156-153 ATS (+329.5 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record since 1996.
DALLAS is 72-59 ATS (+137.3 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record in the first half of the season since 1996.
PITTSBURGH is 6-12 ATS (-13.3 Units) when playing with 3 or more days rest over the last 3 seasons.
PITTSBURGH is 9-16 ATS (-18.6 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
DALLAS is 1-1 (+0.0 Units) against the spread versus PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 1-1-0 straight up against DALLAS over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.0 Units)

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CAROLINA (5-7-0-3, 13 pts.) at NY RANGERS (8-3-0-3, 19 pts.) - 11/11/2011, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
CAROLINA is 9-24 ATS (+36.3 Units) in November games over the last 3 seasons.
CAROLINA is 31-60 ATS (+100.4 Units) first half of the season over the last 3 seasons.
NY RANGERS are 21-6 ATS (+12.9 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record in the first half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
NY RANGERS are 54-69 ATS (-22.1 Units) after a 3 game unbeaten streak since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
CAROLINA is 4-4 (+0.3 Units) against the spread versus NY RANGERS over the last 3 seasons
NY RANGERS is 4-4-0 straight up against CAROLINA over the last 3 seasons
5 of 8 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+1.0 Units)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OTTAWA (7-8-0-1, 15 pts.) at BUFFALO (9-5-0-0, 18 pts.) - 11/11/2011, 7:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
BUFFALO is 225-157 ATS (+26.6 Units) vs. division opponents since 1996.
BUFFALO is 18-23 ATS (-10.2 Units) in a home game where where the total is 5.5 over the last 2 seasons.
BUFFALO is 10-15 ATS (-13.8 Units) in home games first half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
BUFFALO is 4-12 ATS (-13.8 Units) in home games after scoring 4 goals or more in their previous game over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
OTTAWA is 6-7 (+0.0 Units) against the spread versus BUFFALO over the last 3 seasons
BUFFALO is 7-6-0 straight up against OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
7 of 12 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.4 Units)

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EDMONTON (9-4-0-2, 20 pts.) at DETROIT (7-5-0-1, 15 pts.) - 11/11/2011, 7:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
EDMONTON is 21-56 ATS (+104.8 Units) after allowing 4 goals or more over the last 3 seasons.
EDMONTON is 8-28 ATS (+49.1 Units) after a loss by 2 goals or more in their previous game over the last 2 seasons.
EDMONTON is 1-13 ATS (+21.5 Units) after playing 3 consecutive road games over the last 2 seasons.
EDMONTON is 40-33 ATS (+82.0 Units) in road games on Friday nights since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
EDMONTON is 3-5 (+0.5 Units) against the spread versus DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
DETROIT is 5-3-0 straight up against EDMONTON over the last 3 seasons
4 of 8 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=-0.8 Units, Under=-0.2 Units)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CALGARY (6-7-0-1, 13 pts.) at CHICAGO (9-4-0-3, 21 pts.) - 11/11/2011, 8:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
CHICAGO is 29-11 ATS (+12.6 Units) when playing on back-to-back days over the last 3 seasons.
CALGARY is 16-8 ATS (+7.4 Units) after a loss by 2 goals or more in their previous game over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 41-58 ATS (-37.7 Units) in home games on Friday nights since 1996.
CHICAGO is 232-265 ATS (-47.4 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record since 1996.
CHICAGO is 117-141 ATS (-71.2 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record in the first half of the season since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
CHICAGO is 6-2 (+3.2 Units) against the spread versus CALGARY over the last 3 seasons
CHICAGO is 6-2-0 straight up against CALGARY over the last 3 seasons
5 of 8 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.0 Units)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

VANCOUVER (8-7-0-1, 17 pts.) at ANAHEIM (5-7-0-3, 13 pts.) - 11/11/2011, 10:35 PM
Top Trends for this game.
VANCOUVER is 124-123 ATS (-50.1 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record in the first half of the season since 1996.
ANAHEIM is 23-15 ATS (+6.6 Units) after allowing 4 goals or more over the last 2 seasons.
VANCOUVER is 42-31 ATS (+76.4 Units) in road games on Friday nights since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
ANAHEIM is 4-4 (+1.6 Units) against the spread versus VANCOUVER over the last 3 seasons
ANAHEIM is 4-4-0 straight up against VANCOUVER over the last 3 seasons
5 of 8 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+1.8 Units)

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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11/11/2011 06:15 PM
NHL
Short Sheet

Friday, November 11

WASHINGTON at NEW JERSEY, 7:00 PM ET NHL
WASHINGTON: 2-8 SU off home loss by 2+ goals
NEW JERSEY: 11-3 SU off homw win by 1+ goal

DALLAS at PITTSBURGH, 7:00 PM ET
DALLAS: 11-2 SU This season
PITTSBURGH: 6-12 SU playing w/ 3+ days rest

CAROLINA at NY RANGERS, 7:00 PM ET
CAROLINA: 117-80 SU off 1 goal loss
NY RANGERS: 9-16 SU on 5-game unbeaten streak

OTTAWA at BUFFALO, 7:30 PM ET
OTTAWA: 11-5 SU Away playing only their 2nd game in 5 days
BUFFALO: 4-12 SU at home after scoring 4+ goals

EDMONTON at DETROIT, 7:30 PM ET
EDMONTON: 2-16 SU after allowing 5+ goals
DETROIT: 20-9-1 SU at home vs. Edmonton

CALGARY at CHICAGO, 8:30 PM ET
CALGARY: 16-8 SU off loss by 2+ goals
CHICAGO: 3-13 SU Away if both teams scored 3+ goals

VANCOUVER at ANAHEIM, 10:35 PM ET
VANCOUVER: 26-12 SU as road favorite of -200 or less
ANAHEIM: 23-15 SU after allowing 4+ goals

** (TC) Denotes Time Change
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11/11/2011 06:21 PM
Date WLT Pct Net Units Record
11/10/11 8-­6-­2 57.14% +­740 Detail
11/09/11 5-­1-­0 83.33% +­2055 Detail
11/08/11 8-­10-­0 44.44% -­1495 Detail
11/07/11 1-­3-­0 25.00% -­1100 Detail
11/06/11 3-­7-­0 30.00% -­2320 Detail
11/05/11 6-­14-­2 30.00% -­4760 Detail
11/04/11 5-­7-­0 41.67% -­1145 Detail
11/03/11 10-­10-­0 50.00% -­45 Detail
11/02/11 2-­4-­0 33.33% -­1080 Detail
11/01/11 6-­4-­0 60.00% +­1270 Detail
Totals 54-­66-­4 45.00% -­7880

Friday, November 11

Game Score Status Pick Amount

Washington - 7:00 PM ET New Jersey +118 500
New Jersey - Under 5.5 500

Carolina - 7:00 PM ET NY Rangers -138 500
NY Rangers - Under 5.5 500

Dallas - 7:00 PM ET Dallas +127 500
Pittsburgh - Over 5.5 500

Ottawa - 7:30 PM ET Ottawa +167 500
Buffalo - Under 5.5 500

Edmonton - 7:30 PM ET Detroit -165 500
Detroit - Under 5.5 500

Calgary - 8:30 PM ET Calgary +141 500
Chicago - Over 5.5 500

Vancouver - 10:30 PM ET Vancouver -113 500
Anaheim - Over 5.5 500
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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11/11/2011 06:23 PM
Preview: Flames (6-7) at Blackhawks (6-4)

Date: November 11, 2011 8:30 PM EDT

The Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames both have been struggling on the power play this season, but each team has a reason to feel like it is about to turn things around.

Coming off a dominating road win, the Blackhawks return to the United Center on Friday night to take on the Flames, who will get Mikael Backlund back in the lineup.

Chicago (9-4-3) scored two power-play goals on three chances in a 6-3 win at Columbus on Thursday, snapping a three-game losing streak. The Blackhawks had gone 0 for 9 with the man advantage in their previous two games, temporarily dropping to last in the NHL on the power play at 8.8 percent (5 for 57).

Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist Thursday while Andrew Brunette and Steve Montador had power-play goals in the second period. Chicago hadn't recorded more than one power-play goal in any of its first 15 contests.

"We had a real good first period and then all of a sudden we get the power play going and we get some excitement in our team, as well," coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was nice to see a couple nice plays, a couple nice finishes around the net."

The Blackhawks will try to build on that performance at home, where they are 0 for 20 on the power play the last four games and 3 for 36 (8.3 percent) this season. Despite those struggles, Chicago is 5-1-2 at home.

Calgary (6-7-1) has experienced its own problems on special teams, going 0 for 7 on the power play in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. The Flames are 8 for 52 (15.4 percent) with the man advantage this season, although they are 6 for 18 on the road.

"We all got frustrated out there," forward Alex Tanguay said. "We all wanted to do a little bit more and we're all pressing it a little bit. We're confident we're going to be better and we're going to get ready for the next game."

They could be helped by the expected return of Backlund, who has been sidelined with a broken finger suffered during a practice prior to the season opener. He had 10 goals and 25 points in 73 games last season, primarily playing between Jarome Iginla and Tanguay.

"He is a quick guy and creative with that offensive instinct. I think he'll be a good boost for our team," Iginla said. "Last year, we were able to find some good chemistry as a line. ... Hopefully, we will be able to keep going where we left off."

Calgary has been in a scoring slump recently, scoring three goals in its last three games. Iginla has been held to one assist and is a minus-2 during that stretch.

Iginla has been more productive on the road, though, with three of his four goals coming in six contests away from home. Iginla's also had good success against the Blackhawks, with five goals and three assists in four meetings last season.

Including the 2009 postseason, however, Chicago is 14-4-0 in its last 18 against Calgary, winning nine straight at home by a combined score of 42-20. Toews had five points in last season's series.




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11/11/2011 06:25 PM
Preview: Capitals (5-4) at Devils (3-5)

Date: November 11, 2011 7:00 PM EDT

The New Jersey Devils have been without three-time All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk for the past two games but haven't missed a beat.

The Washington Capitals have been without star defenseman Mike Green for nearly three weeks, and his absence has been quite apparent.

With the status of both uncertain for the opener of a home-and-home series Friday night at the Prudential Center, the Devils will look to win a season-high fourth straight while sending the suddenly struggling Capitals to a third consecutive defeat.

Kovalchuk has sat out the last two games for New Jersey (7-5-1) with a lower-body injury. The left wing, second on the team with nine points, has reported some improvement but did not practice Thursday.

"When you have players like that out of the lineup, your attention to detail, I think, gets better out of necessity," coach Peter DeBoer said after Tuesday's 3-2 win over Carolina.

Rookie center Adam Henrique certainly seems to be playing with greater focus.

Henrique scored the game winner at 16:41 of the third period Tuesday after scoring in overtime in Saturday's 3-2 victory over Winnipeg. All of his first four career goals have come during New Jersey's three-game winning streak, and Henrique is the first Devils rookie to be credited with the winning goal in two consecutive games since Patrik Elias on Nov. 8-10, 1997.

"The kid obviously has a knack for big goals,' DeBoer said of the 21-year-old.

"He has speed, skill, good size and a unique composure for a young guy. The game is moving on around him and nothing rattles him. I really like that about him. Pressure doesn't get to him and he's able to rise to the occasion.'

While Henrique is doing an outstanding job of carrying the offense in Kovalchuk's absence, the Capitals (9-4-0) are having a hard time finding someone to fill the void left by Green's injury.

Green has missed Washington's last six games with a sprained right ankle, but did fully participate in Wednesday's practice. He is still listed as day-to-day.

With Green in the lineup, the Capitals won the season's first seven games, allowing an average of 2.0 goals. Since he went down, Washington is 2-4-0 and is allowing double that.

The Capitals are coming off Tuesday's 5-2 loss to Dallas, the second straight game they surrendered five goals in a defeat.

"It's a mystery, because our group is much better than that,' forward Mike Knuble said. "We're a veteran group and that shouldn't happen.'

Knuble has one goal in his last eight games, but had three goals and two assists in three contests against New Jersey last season - all victories.

The Capitals went 3-1-0 against the Devils in 2010-11, outscoring them 15-3 in their victories. Alex Ovechkin, who leads Washington with six goals, had two goals and four assists.

Martin Brodeur has struggled against the Capitals lately, recording a 4.64 goals-against average in losing his last four starts against them - tied for his longest current losing streak against any opponent (Boston, Philadelphia). The four-time Vezina Trophy winner, who missed six games earlier this season with a right shoulder injury, has started the last two games for the Devils, allowing two goals in each.

Tomas Vokoun could be back between the pipes for the Capitals after getting the night off Tuesday. He is 1-2-0 with a 3.90 GAA in his last four starts, and 1-3-0 with a 2.28 GAA against the Devils since 2009-10.




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11/11/2011 06:27 PM
Preview: Hurricanes (5-7) at Rangers (6-3)

Date: November 11, 2011 7:00 PM EDT

The combination of newcomer Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik didn't produce like New York Rangers coach John Tortorella had hoped, but now the team is getting plenty of contributions from its top line.

The Rangers look to win six straight for the first time in two years Friday night when they host a slumping Carolina Hurricanes team trying to get its offense in gear.

Signed to a nine-year, $60 million deal in the offseason, Richards was largely ineffective through the first eight games, with one goal and four assists.

Gaborik scored four times during that stretch as he played on the first line with Richards, and the result was a 3-3-2 start for the Rangers.

Since splitting the two forwards, New York (8-3-3) has scored 21 goals while going 5-0-1.

The top line of Gaborik, Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov has eight goals and 14 assists during the winning streak after combining for seven points in Wednesday's 3-2 victory at Ottawa.

"I think we feel pretty good out there," said Gaborik, who has four goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. "Arty and Step are playing with a lot of confidence. We scored a couple of goals off great forechecks by those guys. Hopefully we can keep it up."

The Rangers, who last won six straight during a 7-0-0 run from Oct. 3-17, 2009, also will try to extend their winning streak at Madison Square Garden to five. They haven't done that since a 5-0-0 surge from Oct. 29-Nov. 8, 2007.

The Hurricanes (5-7-3) have dropped four straight away from home, and now they'll look to avoid their worst road losing streak since a franchise-record 13-game skid to open the 2009-10 season.

They've lost three in a row and seven of nine overall following Wednesday's 3-2 road loss to New Jersey.

Despite getting a goal which came off the stick of a Devils player, Carolina scored two or fewer for the fourth time in five games.

"It's tough to take," said center Brandon Sutter, who gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead with his second short-handed goal of the season. "We've had a tough go the last few games."

Carolina, though, could benefit from forward Jussi Jokinen (three goals, nine points) returning after missing three games with a lower-body injury.

Improved play by captain Eric Staal also could help. Staal, the club's leading goal scorer in four of the last six seasons, is pointless in the last six games and without a goal in nine straight.

Staal has three goals and an assist in the last three matchups at MSG and scored in the most recent one, but the Hurricanes lost 2-1 in overtime Jan. 5.

Returning to New York also has forced Staal to answer questions about his brother Marc, a Rangers defenseman who has not played this season due to post-concussion symptoms from a check delivered by Eric in a matchup at Raleigh on Feb. 22.

Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 31 shots in the Jan. 5 meeting as New York snapped a three-game home losing streak to Carolina, has a 1.95 goals-against average while winning his three November starts.

Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has a 5.02 GAA during his personal three-game skid.

Ward, though, is 4-0-2 with a 1.77 GAA in his last six starts versus New York.


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11/11/2011 06:29 PM
Preview: Stars (8-3) at Penguins (6-3)

Date: November 11, 2011 7:00 PM EDT

Having to face two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Dallas Stars figured they'd be tested on their current four-game road trip.

They were more than up to the challenge in what seemed like a difficult matchup their last time out, however.

After handing Washington its first home loss of the season, the Stars carry plenty of momentum into Friday night's meeting with the Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins.

Dallas (11-3-0) missed the playoffs for a franchise worst-tying third straight season in 2010-11, but has looked every bit like a contender early on. The Stars lead the NHL in wins and are among the league leaders with 45 goals.

Dallas began its trek with a 5-2 win over Carolina on Sunday and continued its excellent all-around play Tuesday, defeating the Capitals 5-2 with three goals in the third period. Washington came in 6-0-0 at home.

The Stars, winners of four straight and three in a row on the road, conclude their trip Saturday against Detroit.

"It's a good measuring stick for us," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We're trying to gauge ourselves against the league, coming into Washington and then heading to Pittsburgh and Detroit. (Tuesday) we liked our game. It just gives us confidence moving forward."

Dallas now faces another tough task against the Penguins, who are 4-1-1 at home while killing off all but one of their opponents' 15 power-play opportunities. The Stars have been outscored 17-6 during a four-game road skid in the series.

After back-to-back losses, Pittsburgh (9-3-3) regrouped to conclude a three-game trip with a 3-2 shootout victory over Los Angeles on Saturday. Chris Kunitz tied the game with 2:57 left in regulation before scoring the deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout.

With five days off, there was speculation that Sidney Crosby, sidelined since Jan. 5 with a concussion, could make his much-anticipated return. Crosby, however, was ruled out by coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday and won't return until Tuesday at the earliest.

"You can't replace a guy like Sid. He obviously makes our team better when he's in the lineup," Kunitz said. "Right now everybody is pulling their own weight."

The Penguins have climbed to the top of their division with a gritty defensive effort, surrendering a league-low three power-play goals in 44 chances. Marc-Andre Fleury has turned away all 38 shots he's faced when Pittsburgh has been short-handed.

"Our penalty kill does a very good job in front of them, limiting opportunities and also giving (Fleury) shots that he can work with," Bylsma said. "(Fleury) doesn't give up a lot of rebounds, and when he knows where those shots are coming from, he's a big part of that penalty kill."

Fleury, 5-0-1 with a 1.44 GAA in his last six games, is 4-0-0 with a 1.96 GAA lifetime against Dallas. He'll look to slow down Dallas' rising star Jamie Benn, who's notched three goals and eight assists over a six-game point streak.

"Things are going pretty good right now," Benn said. "I think it's because we're playing a simple game and playing the right way. Guys are having fun and we're all buying in and getting big points on the road."

Kari Lehtonen, 11-1-0 with a 2.13 GAA, is 5-0-0 with a 1.77 mark on the road. However, he's gone 0-3-1 with a 3.21 GAA in his four games at Pittsburgh.

Penguins left wing Tyler Kennedy, sidelined the last nine games with concussion-like symptoms, is expected to be a game-time decision.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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