[B]OTTAWA (54-34-0-10, 118 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (60-25-0-13, 133 pts.) – 5/21/2017, 3:00 PM [/B]
Top Trends for this game.
PITTSBURGH is 124-80 ATS (+222.5 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
PITTSBURGH is 81-48 ATS (-4.6 Units) second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
OTTAWA is 54-44 ATS (+102.2 Units) in all games this season.
OTTAWA is 34-28 ATS (+64.6 Units) second half of the season this season.
OTTAWA is 36-25 ATS (+65.0 Units) revenging a home loss versus opponent over the last 3 seasons.
OTTAWA is 26-20 ATS (+47.0 Units) revenging a loss versus opponent this season.
OTTAWA is 30-19 ATS (+53.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
OTTAWA is 18-12 ATS (+32.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season this season.
PITTSBURGH is 100-108 ATS (-31.8 Units) in a home game where where the total is 5 or less since 1996.
Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 8-5 (+0.6 Units) against the spread versus OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 8-5-0 straight up against OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
6 of 12 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=-0.7 Units, Under=-0.9 Units)
Sunday, May 21[/B]
Ottawa is 5-4 in its last nine games; three of the five wins came in OT. Penguins lost three of last five home games. Game 4 win in Ottawa was first time in seven games that Pittsburgh scored more than two goals in a game. Home team is just 2-2 in first four games of Ottawa-Pittsburgh series; under is 4-1-1 in last six games between these teams. Senators lost four of last five games in Steel City (under 3-2). Penguins are 2-16 on power play in their last five games; Ottawa is 0-25 on power play in their last nine games.
[B]OTTAWA vs. PITTSBURGH[/B]
Ottawa is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Ottawa is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 5 games at home
Pittsburgh is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Ottawa
Some over/under win totals for college football this coming fall:
— Texas 7.5, under -$120
— UCLA 6, over -$135
— Nebraska 6, over -$125
— Michigan State 6.5, under -$130
— USC 9.5, over -$135
— LSU 9, over -$120
Armadillo: Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a fun weekend…….
13) Had an excellent time Sunday night at the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame induction dinner in Troy; my friend Rob got inducted- he was a great player at U of Albany and also won a gold medal in the 1980 Empire State Games, when he was a teammate of Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle- their team played small ball and beat teams with more famous players.
Carlisle, former NBA coach Kevin O’Neill and former Marquette coach Mike Deane all spoke at the dinner. Albany Great Danes’ coach Will Brown was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. All in all, an excellent evening.
12) Odd Sunday in baseball; 30 of 32 starting pitchers got decisions in their games. None of the 16 games played saw the game-winning run score after the 6th inning. Very unusual day.
11) Over is 14-1 in last fifteen games played at Wrigley Field; wind was blowing straight in on Friday and the game still went over the total.
10) Friday night, the Dodgers’ Corey Seager swung at a 3-0 pitch while LA led 5-0, which for some reason ticked off Miami manager Don Mattingly. Soon after that, the Marlins drilled Brett Eibner with a pitch, so then the Dodgers threw a ball behind Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton got hit in the face with a pitch a couple years ago in Milwaukee and still wears an extra face guard, so Mattingly endangered his best player’s health because an opponent swung at a 3-0 pitch in a 5-0 game. Brilliant!!!
9) Movie recommendation: Wizard of Lies on HBO, with Robert DeNiro playing Bernie Madoff, the Ponzi scheme huckster who bilked a lot of people out of billions of dollars. It isn’t a pleasant movie or at all uplifting, but it is really well done.
8) Indiana Tech, a college in Fort Wayne, is offering scholarships to video gamers who play League of Legends and Hearthstone. This is a world I know nothing about, but apparently it is a growing industry. Go figure.
Too bad they didn’t offer Pac-Man scholarships back in the day; could’ve saved some money.
7) Astros catcher Brian McCann (concussion) goes on 7-day DL. Dodgers sent Julio Urias down to AAA, called Josh Ravin up for some bullpen depth.
6) Brewers-Cubs game was rained out very early Saturday morning, but then it didn’t rain in the afternoon, so the game could/should have been played. It was the Cubs’ decision and the Milwaukee people didn’t see too happy about it; they also seemed a little mystified as to why.
Milwaukee called up pitcher Tyler Cravy from AAA Saturday; the game got rained out, then Ryan Braun got activated off the DL and Cravy was sent back to Colorado Springs. No bueno.
5) Jose Reyes got his 2,000th hit Saturday night; 1,398 of them have come with the Mets. He sat out Sunday’s game with a “tweaked rib cage”.
4) Looks like Kawhi Leonard will sit out tonight’s Game 4 of Spurs-Warriors series, meaning we won’t see him play until next fall, since Golden State will end this series tonite.
David Lee has a partially torn patella; been a rough couple weeks for the Spurs.
3) In the last 24 days, utility infielder Chase d’Arnaud has gone from the Braves to the Red Sox to the Padres, who need all the major leaguers they can get. He was a 1.000 hitter for Boston (1-1 with two runs scored in two games).
2) Celtics 111, Cavaliers 108— Cleveland led by 21 points against a Boston team playing without star Isaiah Thomas, but Celtics rallied and pulled a huge upset. Good for the Celtics, good for Brad Stevens, great for the NBA, which desperately needs some competitive playoff games.
1) What would happen if American Idol had one season where all the contestants were 50+ years old? I think it would be a big hit. Would be a gamble, but in my opinion, a winning one.
Monday’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Preview and Odds: Ducks at Predators
The Predators are -145 favorites to win Game 6 of teh Western Conference final. With a win they’ll advance to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators (-145, 5)
Predators lead series 3-2
Amid the Western Conference final turning into a series of attrition, the Nashville Predators can advance to the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night in Game 6. Nashville pushed the Ducks to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 victory at Anaheim on Saturday to take a 3-2 series lead.
The Predators had to overcome the stunning loss of top-line center Ryan Johansen to emergency surgery following Game 4 and the absence of captain and center Mike Fisher to win at the Honda Center for the second time in the series and earn the chance to clinch at home. “We all know it’s nothing but Game 6 for us,” said Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, who sparkled with 32 saves in Game 5. “If we win, we’re in the (Cup Final). If we lose, we come back here, and we don’t want to do that.” The Ducks have major injury concerns of their own after starting goaltender John Gibson (lower body) exited Game 5 and Rickard Rakell, a 33-goal scorer during the regular season, sat out the contest. Gibson vowed to be back in the lineup Monday but coach Randy Carlyle was not as optimistic, telling reporters: “We’ll do an assessment tomorrow and we’ll do an assessment once we get to Nashville on Monday morning and see where that takes us.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVAS
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Predators as -140 favorites to advance to their first Stanley Cup Finals in team history and they have been bet up slightly to -145. The total for Game 6 is 5.
GOALIE MATCHUP: John Gibson (ANA) vs. Pekka Rinne (NAS)
Gibson – GP: 16, W/L: 9-5, GAA: 2.59, SAVE %: .918
Rinne – GP: 15, W/L: 11-4, GAA: 1.62, SAVE %: .942
Ducks – RW L. Shaw (Questionable Monday, lower body), G J. Gibson (Questionable Monday, lower body), C R. Rakell (Out Monday, lower body), RW P. Eaves (Out indefinitely, lower body), D S. Despres (Out indefinitely, concussion).
Predators – RW C. Smith (Questionable Monday, undisclosed), C M. Fisher (Questionable Monday, eye), C R. Johansen (Out for season, thigh), LW K. Fiala (Out for season, leg).
ABOUT THE DUCKS: The murky status of Gibson — “We can’t risk him,” Carlyle said — could have Anaheim pinnning its must-win hopes on backup Jonathan Bernier, who turned aside 16 of 18 shots Saturday but hasn’t made a start since April 9. Gibson finished 21-7-4 with a 2.50 goals-against average and ripped off a 9-0-1 stretch late in the season that started with a 4-3 shootout win over visiting Nashville on March 7, but he has been limited to three relief appearances in the postseason. Rakell has scored seven times in the postseason and was termed day-to-day by Carlyle, who assigned the same status to injured forward Patrick Eaves (career-high 32 goals), sidelined for the past nine games of the playoffs.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS: Nashville had to tap into its reserves to replace Johansen and Fisher and received more than they could hope for from two rookies: Pontus Aberg scored the game-winning tally (matching his career total) with an airborne swipe of a rebound before being summoned to the league’s concussion protocol, and Frederick Gaudreau did yeoman’s work against Anaheim’s center men, winning 10 of 14 faceoffs in his postseason debut. “This was his first playoff game and he played like he’s been in the League for 10 years,” said star forward Filip Forsberg of Gaudreau, seeing his first action since Jan. 8. Forsberg continues to do the heavy lifting with four goals and two assists during a six-game point streak.
* Ducks are 6-2 in their last eight road games.
* Predators are 9-3 in their last 12 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.
* Under is 9-1-3 in Predators last 13 home games.
* Under is 3-0-4 in the last seven meetings in Nashville.
[B]ANAHEIM (56-28-0-14, 126 pts.) at NASHVILLE (52-32-0-13, 117 pts.) – 5/22/2017, 8:00 PM [/B]
Top Trends for this game.
NASHVILLE is 32-19 ATS (+7.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
NASHVILLE is 24-12 ATS (+11.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season this season.
ANAHEIM is 56-42 ATS (+3.3 Units) in all games this season.
ANAHEIM is 38-22 ATS (+9.7 Units) second half of the season this season.
ANAHEIM is 5-0 ATS (+5.0 Units) in road games when trailing in a playoff series over the last 2 seasons.
ANAHEIM is 12-5 ATS (+6.6 Units) revenging a home loss versus opponent this season.
ANAHEIM is 28-16 ATS (+9.0 Units) revenging a loss versus opponent this season.
ANAHEIM is 13-3 ATS (+9.0 Units) after a loss by 2 goals or more in their previous game this season.
ANAHEIM is 16-6 ATS (+8.5 Units) after scoring 1 goal or less in their previous game this season.
ANAHEIM is 31-21 ATS (+8.2 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
ANAHEIM is 21-13 ATS (+7.4 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season this season.
NASHVILLE is 24-32 ATS (-10.5 Units) after a win by 2 goals or more over the last 2 seasons.
Head-to-Head Series History
ANAHEIM is 11-10-0 straight up against NASHVILLE over the last 3 seasons
9 of 14 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+3.7 Units)
Monday, May 22[/B]
Nashville can wrap this series at home, but road team is 3-2 in this series; Anaheim lost three of its last four visits to Nashville- under is 2-0-1 in last three series games. Predators won four of last five home games, with one loss in OT- they allowed one goal in all four wins. Under is 6-1-2 in last nine Predator games; over is 5-3-2 in Ducks’ last ten games. Nashville is 2-23 on power play in its last six games; Ducks are 2-30 on power play in their last nine games. Three of last six games between these teams went to OT.
[B]ANAHEIM vs. NASHVILLE[/B]
Anaheim is 14-6 SU in its last 20 games
Anaheim is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games on the road
Nashville is 11-4 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Nashville’s last 9 games
[B][I]Preview: Ducks (46-23) at Predators (41-29)
Date: May 22, 2017 8:00 PM EDT[/I][/B]
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It has turned into a battle of attrition in the Western Conference Finals.
One more loss and the Anaheim Ducks will have until September to rest. One more win and the Nashville Predators clinch their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Saturday night’s 3-1 defeat to the equally shorthanded Nashville Predators put Anaheim in a 3-2 hole, requiring it to win Game 6 Monday night in the cauldron of noise known as Bridgestone Arena.
In their second elimination game of the postseason, the Ducks edged Edmonton 2-1 in Game 7 of the conference semifinals on May 10. This time, the Ducks will have to go without 30-goal scorers Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves.
Both stayed back in Orange County with lower-body injuries.
Goalie John Gibson also has a lower-body injury, which knocked him out of the last two periods of Game 5. Gibson said after the game he would play in Game 6, but coach Randy Carlyle was more cautious when the team arrived late Sunday afternoon in Nashville, saying Gibson would be reevaluated in the morning.
Regardless, Carlyle is confident his team can bring the series back to Anaheim for Game 7 Wednesday night, and why not? After all, the Ducks snapped the Predators’ 10-game home playoff winning streak in Game 4 Thursday night with a 3-2 overtime decision.
“We have won in Nashville before, and there is no reason we cannot go into that building and win on Monday,” Carlyle said.
It was at Bridgestone where Anaheim played its best game of the series in Game 4, outshooting Nashville 14-2 in the first period and 36-33 for the game. But that was with a healthy Rakell, whose blistering slapper initiated scoring that night.
Of course, the Predators can be excused for having zero sympathy for the Ducks’ injury issues.
Consider that they won Game 5 with their top two centers, Ryan Johansen (compartment syndrome surgery in left thigh) and Mike Fisher (undisclosed injury), on the shelf, and have played the entire series without Craig Smith (undisclosed) and Kevin Fiala (fractured leg).
It’s not known if Fisher or Smith will be available Monday night, but Nashville didn’t exactly look like a team searching for answers with all those guys out of action.
Pontus Aberg drew back into the lineup and scored the winning goal just over midway through the third period for his first playoff goal, while Frederick Gaudreau played well defensively and had a winning record on faceoffs, going 10-4 in his first playoff match.
Gaudreau became the team’s 18th forward to play in the postseason, tying an NHL record. Aberg and Austin Watson, who sealed the outcome with an empty-netter in the last minute, are the 16th and 17th Predators to score goals in the playoffs.
It was the latest example of how depth is driving this team to heights it’s never reached before.
“Whatever 20 guys we have going out there, we’re fully confident in the group we have going,” Watson said. “For guys like Freddie Gaudreau to come out and play the way that he did, for guys to just step up and maybe take on some more minutes, that was a huge win for us tonight.”
[B]SERIES AT A GLANCE[/B]
Predators at Ducks
Fri, May 12 Final 3 to 2
Predators at Ducks
Sun, May 14 Final 3 to 5
Ducks at Predators
Tue, May 16 Final 1 to 2
Ducks at Predators
Thu, May 18 Final 3 to 2
Predators at Ducks
Sat, May 20 Final 3 to 1
Ducks at Predators
Mon, May 22 – 8:00PM EDT
Predators at Ducks
Wed, May 24 – 9:00PM EDT
[B][I]Preds one win from 1st Stanley Cup
May 21, 2017[/I][/B]
NASVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators don’t have their top center, and their captain is day to day with an upper-body injury.
They still have Pekka Rinne in net.
And the Predators have a chance at history on their own ice, a win away from the first Stanley Cup Final berth in the franchise history.
As coach Peter Laviolette put it, the guys know what’s at stake.
Standing in their way? The Anaheim Ducks, the only team to beat them in their home rink in the playoffs over the past two postseasons.
The Predators returned home with a 3-2 Western Conference finals lead after a 3-1 victory over the Ducks in Anaheim on Saturday led by Rinne, who is 7-3 in the Honda Center in the postseason. To avoid a return trip for a Game 7 to test that once again, they can eliminate the Ducks on Monday night in Game 6.
”We obviously know what’s at stake,” forward Colin Wilson said Sunday. ”It is one game at a time, but we know our next win puts us in contention for the Stanley Cup. So it’s something we’re focused on, but it is just about that next game, getting the next win.”
The Predators are 10-1 at Bridgestone Arena the past two postseasons, and another record crowd is expected for what will be the biggest sporting event in Nashville history not counting the fans watching just outside the building. They could hear the cheering fans the instant they stepped off the plane, and Laviolette said he knows Monday night will be crazy.
That leaves it up to the Predators to handle business on the ice.
”We got to put our foot on the gas pedal again, and make sure we’re ready to play,” Laviolette said.
Being in position to win the Campbell Bowl on home ice seemed remote Friday when the Predators announced their top scorer, center Ryan Johansen , would miss the rest of the postseason after emergency surgery to repair compartment syndrome on his left thigh. They also were without captain Mike Fisher because of injury.
Laviolette simply tapped Rinne, the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist and Nashville’s strong farm system for help.
Pontus Aberg, who played only 15 games with the Predators all season, scored the winner on his first career playoff goal. Of Nashville’s 11 wins, 10 Predators have winning goals. Frederick Gaudreau, another Milwaukee call-up, helped fill in at center in his postseason debut and won 10 of 14 face-offs against the best team on the dot in these playoffs.
Rinne, who shut out the Blackhawks twice in Chicago to open this postseason, played arguably his best game yet. He made 32 saves and aggressively played the puck to help hold off the Ducks. Rinne is 11-4 in these playoffs, and his 1.62 goals-against average is the fourth-lowest with his .942 save percentage the fourth-highest in NHL history with a minimum of 15 games played.
”He’s been great all playoffs, and the team has so much confidence in him,” defenseman Roman Josi said about Rinne. ”It’s awesome playing in front of him, and he’s been unbelievable.”
Nothing can be taken for granted in this series. The Ducks and Predators have been tied or within a goal for 284 minutes, 38 seconds of the 319:49 played. Scoring first has been no guarantee either with the winner coming back four times. That’s how Nashville has won each time in this series for their fifth comeback victory this postseason and the 31st overall of this postseason.
”They’re never out of the game, out of a series, so yeah, got to make sure we’re prepared,” Josi said.
The Ducks have been resilient all postseason, from scoring three goals to tie Edmonton in Game 5 of the second round before winning in overtime to snapping Nashville’s 10-game winning streak on home ice. That had been the longest playoff winning streak since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings before Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime Thursday night.
Defenseman Kevin Bieksa said the Ducks just have to go out and win.
”We’re capable of winning. That’s for sure. We’ve proven that time after time,” Bieksa said. ”We have the team, and we’re against the wall right now facing a little bit of adversity.”
The Ducks are dealing with injuries as well. Rickard Rakell missed Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury, and forward Patrick Eaves has missed nine with his injury. Neither traveled to Nashville. Goaltender John Gibson left Saturday’s game after the first period with a lower-body injury and will be re-assessed at Monday morning’s skate.
If Gibson can’t play, Jonathan Bernier will make the first playoff start of his career. He went 21-7-4 in the regular season and has appeared in three games this postseason.
The Ducks rebounded from losing Game 3 by taking a day off in Nashville to shoot pool and throw darts. The schedule doesn’t allow such a break with both the Predators and Ducks back on planes Sunday for the return trip to Tennessee.
”Well, it seems that when the pressure’s been applied, we’ve responded in the proper manner, and I would expect the same,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
[B][I]Predators reach 1st Stanley Cup Final, oust Ducks in 6 games
May 22, 2017[/I][/B]
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Colton Sissons scored his third goal with 6:00 left, ensuring the Nashville Predators’ magical postseason now includes the franchise’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Final after eliminating the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3 win in Game 6 on Monday night.
The Predators, who’ve never won even a division title in their 19-year history, came in with the fewest points of any team in these playoffs.
Now they’ve swept the West’s No. 1 seed in Chicago, downed St. Louis in six in the second round and then the Pacific Division champ in six games. Peter Laviolette became the fourth coach to take three different teams to the Final, and the first since the playoffs split into conference play in 1994.
”It feels so good,” Sissons said. ”Listen to this crowd. Our fans are amazing, a great group of guys. We just believe in ourselves. That’s all it is.”
The Predators will play either defending champion Pittsburgh or Ottawa for the Stanley Cup. Game 1 is Monday.
Anaheim lost in the conference finals for the second time in three years.
Cam Fowler tied it up at 3-3 at 8:52 of the third for Anaheim as the Ducks tried to rally for the fifth time this season when trailing by multiple goals.
But Sissons, who scored on the third shot of the game, scored twice in a wild third period to give the Predators a 3-2 lead at 3:00 and then 4-3 three minutes later.
Austin Watson scored on Nashville’s first shot and had an empty-netter with 1:34 to go. Filip Forsberg also had an empty-net goal.
Pekka Rinne made 38 saves to improve to 12-4.
Ondrej Kase scored his second career goal – both in this series – giving Anaheim a chance to tie the NHL record with a fifth rally when trailing by multiple goals. Chris Wagner banked the puck off Rinne’s head for a goal at 5:00 of the third to keep the Ducks close.
But this has been the best postseason ever for Rinne, a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist, a stretch ranking among the NHL’s best. And the 6-foot-5 Finn used his big body to turn away shot after shot even with the Ducks trying to crash the net every opportunity. He helped the Predators improve to 7-3 in one-goal games.
Music City buzzed all day leading up to the puck drop waiting for one of the biggest sports parties this town has ever seen.
Superstar Garth Brooks spoiled the usual mystery of who would sing the national anthem with Twitter hints hours before the game. Sure enough, his wife Trisha Yearwood became the latest to handle the honors. Former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George waved the rally towel to crank up the fans.
That didn’t even include the throngs packing the plaza outside the arena’s front doors and the park across the street.
The Ducks, who came in 2-1 when facing elimination this postseason, outshot Nashville 6-2 to start the game trying to force this series back to Anaheim.
But they had goalie Jonathan Bernier making his first career playoff start with John Gibson scratched with a lower-body injury. Gibson, who went out after the first period of Game 5, skated Monday morning only to be scratched with Jhonas Enroth dressed as Bernier’s backup.
Watson’s third this postseason deflected off the left skate of Anaheim defenseman Brandon Montour just 81 seconds into the game. Sissons skated on the top line with Ryan Johansen out after needing season-ending surgery on his left thigh and captain Mike Fisher scratched for a second straight game with an upper-body injury.
Notes: Laviolette won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and coached Philadelphia to the Final in 2010. … The Predators now have clinched five of the six series won in franchise history on home ice. This was their third this postseason.
Some over/under win totals for college football this coming fall:
— Utah 6.5, over -$120
— Virginia Tech, 9
— Washington, 9.5
— Washington State 7.5, over -$125
— West Virginia 7, over -$120
— Wisconsin 9.5, over -$125
[B][I]Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……..[/I][/B]
13) Apparently there are severe political problems in Venezuela which are stressing out lot of the Venezuelan ballplayers playing in the major leagues here.
Chip Caray said on the Braves game last night there are over 90 players/coaches from Venezuela in professional baseball right now. If a ballplayer here speaks out against what is going on there, it can have severe repercussions for his family back home. Not a good situation.
12) So far, 631 college basketball players have announced the intent to transfer; 271 of them haven’t said where they’re going yet. Thats just about two transfers per Division I team.
11) According to people in Las Vegas who know about such things, when Celtics (+16) won Game 3 in Cleveland Sunday, it was the third biggest upset in ANY NBA game in the last 22 years, coming after a Nuggets (+17) upset of Washington in ’97 and the Lakers’ (+17) upset of Golden State last fall.
10) Gonzaga/Creighton signed to play a home/home series; sounds a made-for-TV deal, which is good for us, the viewing public. Good for Gonzaga’s strength of schedule, too. Creighton plays in the Big East, so their SOS doesn’t need the help.
9) No baseball team has ever started 12-24 or worse and rallied to make the playoffs.
8) Last fall, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave around 200 policemen in North Little Rock game tickets and transportation to Cowboys’ games in Dallas, as a way of thanking them for their service. Now all that has been ruled an ethics violation, for the cops accepting the gifts. Jones refused reimbursement; seems to me that all this lacks some common sense, but thats just me.
7) Monday was former major league pitcher Tommy John’s 74th birthday; the crafty lefty pitched 2,544 innings AFTER the revolutionary elbow surgery in 1963, that now bears his name.
6) Atlanta Hawks’ Paul Millsap is voiding the last year for his $21.4M contract and will become a free agent this summer. Millsap is 32 but still a highly productive player.
5) Braves 5, Pirates 2— Ender Inciarte had five hits for the Braves, first Atlanta player to do that since Jason Hayward four years ago.
Newly acquired Matt Adams homered for the Braves, making him the first person to homer for two different teams in brand new SunTrust Park— he homered for St Louis there earlier this season.
4) We talked a few days ago about Arizona’s Chris Iannetta getting hit by a pitch in the face, breaking his nose and a couple of teeth. Iannetta came off the 7-day DL Sunday and hit a homer in his first at-bat back, which can’t be an easy thing to do.
3) Warriors 129, Spurs 115— Took Kevin Durant’s advice and watched baseball instead. Golden State now awaits the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, assuming Cleveland can put away an underdog Celtics team playing without its best player, Isaiah Thomas.
This was the last NBA game for Manu Ginobili, who had a great, great career.
2) Two drivers who will compete in the Indianapolis 500 this weekend were robbed at gunpoint of a drive-thru window at a Taco Bell in Indianapolis Sunday night. The crime was perpetrated by two kids, a 14 and 15-year old, at 9:40 pm. I have no idea what else to say about this.
1) Nashville 6, Anaheim 3— Predators are in the Stanley Cup final for the first time ever.
[SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]Monday’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Preview: Penguins at Senators[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
[I]The Penguins are -154 road favorites to win Game 6 against the Senators and advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the second straight season.[/I]
[B]Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators (+130, 5)[/B]
[I]Penguins lead series 3-2[/I]
Sidney Crosby was on the ice the last time a defending champion returned to the Stanley Cup final, with his Pittsburgh Penguins upending Detroit in seven games for the third of the franchise’s four titles. Crosby looks to once again punch his team’s ticket to the NHL’s showcase event on Tuesday when the visiting Penguins bid to close out the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final.
“We’ve been really good at just focusing on the game at hand regardless of the situation, good or bad,” Crosby told reporters on the heels of scoring in his third straight contest in Sunday’s 7-0 shellacking to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 edge in the series. “We’ve had a lot of different things happen throughout the year where we’ve just had to focus on that next game and that will have to be the same approach here heading into Game 6.” While Crosby played it close to the vest with his comments, Ottawa coach Guy Boucher raised a few eyebrows and many sarcastic quips over social media after essentially “crowning” the Penguins after the barrage. “We know they’re a better team. Everybody knows that on the planet,” said Boucher, who has grown comfortable playing the underdog card in these playoffs.
TV:[/B] 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVA
LINE HISTORY:[/B] Oddsmakers have opened the Senators as +130 home underdogs with their season on the line in Game 6 and there has been little movement off that number. The total hit the board at 5.
[B]PROBABLE GOALIE MATCHUP:[/B] Matt Murray (PIT) vs. Craig Anderson (OTT)
Murray – GP: 3, W/L: 2-0, GAA: 1.08, SAVE %: .958
Anderson – GP: 17, W/L: 10-7, GAA: 2.44, SAVE %: .916
Penguins – LW S. Wilson (Questionable Tuesday, upper body), RW P. Hornqvist (Questionable Tuesday, upper body), D J. Schultz (Questionable Tuesday, upper body), RW T. Kuhnhackl (Questionable Tuesday, lower body), D C. Ruhwedel (Questionable Tuesday, concussion), D K. Letang (Out for season, neck).
Senators – C D. Brassard (Probable Tuesday, undisclosed), D E. Karlsson (Probable Tuesday, ankle), D C. Ceci (Probable Tuesday, undisclosed), D M. Borowiecki (Questionable Tuesday, leg), LW A. Burrows (Doubtful Tuesday, leg).
[B]ABOUT THE PENGUINS:[/B] Evgeni Malkin (NHL-best 17 assists, 23 points) notched three assists to push his career playoff total to 98, moving him past team owner Mario Lemieux (96) for second on the franchise’s all-time list. While much is expected of superstars Malkin, Crosby and Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh’s third line of Bryan Rust (goal, assist), Nick Bonino (two assists) and Carter Rowney (three assists) combined for seven points in Game 5 with Rust showing – pardon the pun – no rust after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury. Matt Murray, who recorded his second career postseason shutout following a 25-save performance, has turned aside 68 of 71 shots since replacing Marc-Andre Fleury and owns a 17-6 record in 24 playoff appearances.
[B]ABOUT THE SENATORS:[/B] Captain Erik Karlsson (team-leading 13 assists, 15 points), who is playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel, is expected to be back in the lineup after receiving a bit of a breather with Sunday’s contest well out of hand. “We decided to shorten the bench a bit and come back (fresher) for the next one,” Karlsson told reporters, with Boucher admitting as much in resting fellow defenseman Cody Ceci and forward Derick Brassard in the final period. Boucher also scoffed at the notion of starting backup Mike Condon over Craig Anderson, who will be back in net after being pulled twice for four goals on 14 shots to spoil his 36th birthday.
* Penguins are 1-8 in their last nine games when their opponent allows five more goals in their previous game.
* Senators are 4-1 in their last five home games.
* Over is 5-2-1 in Penguins last eight road games.
* Over is 5-1-3 in Senators last nine games after scoring two goals or less in their previous game.
[B]PITTSBURGH (61-25-0-13, 135 pts.) at OTTAWA (54-35-0-10, 118 pts.) – 5/23/2017, 8:00 PM [/B]
Top Trends for this game.
OTTAWA is 54-45 ATS (+1.3 Units) in all games this season.
OTTAWA is 34-29 ATS (+0.3 Units) second half of the season this season.
OTTAWA is 26-21 ATS (-2.4 Units) revenging a loss versus opponent this season.
OTTAWA is 48-37 ATS (+88.0 Units) after allowing 4 goals or more over the last 3 seasons.
OTTAWA is 29-19 ATS (+48.2 Units) after a loss by 2 goals or more in their previous game over the last 2 seasons.
OTTAWA is 30-20 ATS (+50.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
OTTAWA is 18-13 ATS (+34.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season this season.
PITTSBURGH is 125-80 ATS (+6.3 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
PITTSBURGH is 82-48 ATS (+12.3 Units) second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
PITTSBURGH is 64-46 ATS (+111.5 Units) in road games on Tuesday nights since 1996.
PITTSBURGH is 45-29 ATS (+10.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 9-5 (+1.6 Units) against the spread versus OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 9-5-0 straight up against OTTAWA over the last 3 seasons
7 of 13 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+0.4 Units)
Tuesday, May 23[/B]
[I]Eastern Conference Finals – Best of 7 – Game 6 – PIT Leads 3-2[/I]
[B]Pittsburgh at Ottawa, 8:00 PM ET[/B]
Pittsburgh: 101-53 SU as a favorite
Ottawa: 89-81 at home off back to back overs
Tuesday, May 23[/B]
Ottawa faces elimination at home after losing 7-0 in Pittsburgh in Game 5 Sunday. Senators lost three of last four games, are 5-5 in their last ten, with three of five wins in OT. Over is 4-2-1 in their last seven games overall. Penguins won four of last six road games. Under is 4-2-1 in last seven games between these rivals. Penguins are 5-19 on power play in their last six games; they were 3-3 Sunday. Ottawa is 0-29 on power play in their last ten games. Ottawa won three of its last four home games.
[B]PITTSBURGH vs. OTTAWA[/B]
Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Ottawa is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
Ottawa is 8-17 SU in its last 25 games when playing Pittsburgh
[B][I]Preview: Penguins (50-21) at Senators (44-28)
Date: May 23, 2017 8:00 PM EDT[/I][/B]
OTTAWA — Down to their last out, the Ottawa Senators plan on retreating to the style that brought them to the Eastern Conference finals.
That means the neutral zone should be a crowded piece of ice when the Pittsburgh Penguins look to eliminate the Senators on Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
“We can’t be sitting in our mud puddle,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said Monday, less than 24 hours after a 7-0 shellacking put Ottawa behind 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. “We’ve got to get up and go.”
Boucher said the Senators opened up early in the Game 5 loss, and that was what got them in trouble. He has since had what he feels were productive conversations with the team about returning to a 1-3-1 defensive structure for which he has become known.
“We went in last game trying to run and gun it with the best offensive team in the league, and that’s the result we got,” Boucher said. “We got slapped, and hard enough. So the reality sets back in, and we know how we have to play to give ourselves a chance. I have total confidence in them that they will, and then the game goes on, and we need to manage what we need to manage at that point.”
There exists the possibility that no matter what the Senators do, it may not be enough to stop a Penguins team that appears to be operating on all cylinders.
Held without a point in the first two games, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby scored in each of the next three. Fellow star Evgeni Malkin had three assists and was dominant in Game 5, when the Penguins had seven different goal-scorers.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan juggled his lines so all of them have a combination of finesse and grit. The result saw the Penguins break through the security guarding the Senators’ zone to score five goals from within 13 feet of the net.
“I think it’s critically important that we have that determination and play with that necessary conviction in order to give ourselves the best chance to win,” Sullivan said as the Penguins try to become the first team to play in consecutive Stanley Cup finals since they and the Detroit Red Wings met in in 2008 and 2009.
“So we talk a lot about the puck battles and the thankless jobs that you can’t necessarily quantify, but they help teams win. And those thankless jobs are critically important at this time of year.”
The Senators will go back to No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson, who was pulled in Game 5 after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Boucher also said defenseman Erik Karlsson and center Derick Brassard, who were in the dressing room nursing injuries at the conclusion of the Sunday game, would be good to go.
After frittering away a 3-1 series lead against Washington before finally winning Game 7, Pittsburgh thinks it is better prepared to close out Ottawa with the first chance.
Crosby said the Penguins didn’t play with enough desperation when they had the Capitals down.
“We have to learn from that and make sure it’s there (Tuesday) night,” Crosby said. “I think that it’s something that in the playoffs you have to get better and better to improve, and that’s one area we’ve got make sure we improve on.”
The Penguins also can take confidence from the strong form of Matt Murray.
The 22-year-old goalie has been stellar since returning to action as a sub in Game 4 vs. Ottawa after missing the first 2 1/2 rounds of the playoffs due to a lower-body injury he sustained in warmups before the postseason opener. He has stopped 68 of the 71 shots he has faced, including a 25-save shutout on Sunday.
[B][I]SERIES AT A GLANCE[/I][/B]
Senators at Penguins
Sat, May 13 Final 2 to 1
Senators at Penguins
Mon, May 15 Final 0 to 1
Penguins at Senators
Wed, May 17 Final 1 to 5
Penguins at Senators
Fri, May 19 Final 3 to 2
Senators at Penguins
Sun, May 21 Final 0 to 7
Penguins at Senators
Tue, May 23 – 8:00PM EDT
Senators at Penguins
Thu, May 25 – 8:00PM EDT