cnotes Posts:33166 Followers:38
On 10/21/2011 06:20 PM in NHL

Cnotes Friday's NHL Best Bets !

Preview: Stars (4-1) at Ducks (3-1)

Date: October 21, 2011 10:00 PM EDT

The Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars have thrived out of the gate behind Kari Lehtonen's tremendous play.

With Jonas Hiller back in All-Star form, the Anaheim Ducks are off to their best start since their Stanley Cup winning-campaign five seasons ago.

Lehtonen and Hiller could be in goal as the division rivals - both riding four-game winning streaks - square off at the Honda Center on Friday night.

Dallas (5-1-0), which missed out on the playoffs for a franchise worst-tying third consecutive season in 2010-11, has in contrast looked every bit like a contender early - with Lehtonen receiving much of the credit.

The Finland native improved to 5-0-0 after making 38 saves as the Stars kicked off a four-game road swing with a home-and-home sweep of Columbus, winning 3-2 on Tuesday. Lehtonen, who owns a 1.58 goals-against average, has faced at least 38 shots in four of his five wins.

"I'm just trying to be patient," he told the Stars' official website. "I think that's the biggest thing. It went good, and you have to be happy about it.

"When things are going well, of course it feels fun, and it's nice to play. You don't want to say that it gets easier, but you get lucky sometimes when things are going well. You have to keep working and hoping that it stays the same way."

After missing nearly all of the second half of last season due to vertigo, Hiller also has impressed. He's gone 3-0-0 with a 0.97 GAA over his last three games - including a 31-save shutout in a 1-0 win over San Jose last Friday.

Anaheim (4-1-0) is off to its best start since opening 12-0-4 in 2006-07.

Dan Ellis, making his season debut, spelled Hiller for Monday's 3-2 road win over the Sharks. Ellis stopped 41 shots while Teemu Selanne, who had been limited to one assist during the first four games, scored twice.

"The first goal is always the most important one," said Selanne, who's tallied nine goals and 15 assists over his last 24 meetings with Dallas. "You want to try to get the goals coming."

Reigning Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry also came up big, scoring for the second time in as many games. He's notched five goals and six assists during his last eight matchups in this series.

Selanne and Perry could be in line for plenty of scoring chances versus the Stars, who are allowing 33.8 shots per game - among the most in the league.

While thats surely an area that needs to be addressed, defenseman Sheldon Souray doesn't seem too concerned given Lehtonen's recent efforts.

"We've done some good things and we've put some periods together, some stretches together," Souray said. "But we've had some where we've sat back and let (Lehtonen) take a lot of shots. When we have, he's made the saves."

Lehtonen is 2-3-2 with a 3.26 GAA lifetime in this series. Hiller is 2-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA in his last four games against the Stars.

Dallas, which had gone 0-2-2 at Anaheim before taking the most recent meeting 4-3 on April 3, visits Los Angeles on Saturday before concluding its trek against Phoenix next week.

"These are big division games and teams we're going to see a lot. It's good we got off to a good start," defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "These road trips are where you see what your team is made of. It'll be a good test for us."

The Stars are on the verge of their best start since 2006-07, when they opened 8-1-0.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33166 Followers:38
10/21/2011 06:22 PM

Preview: Sharks (1-3) at Devils (1-1)

Date: October 21, 2011 7:00 PM EDT

Led by a rejuvenated Ilya Kovalchuk, the New Jersey Devils seem to have put their disappointing 2010-11 season behind them.

A matchup with the reeling San Jose Sharks may help keep them rolling.

San Jose is off to its worst start in nine years and will look to avoid a sixth straight loss in New Jersey when the teams face off Friday night.

The Devils (3-1-0) needed 11 games last season to earn their third victory, part of a 9-22-2 start that led to the firing of rookie coach John MacLean.

They seem to be thriving under another new coach in Peter DeBoer, getting off to their best start since going 5-1-0 at the beginning of 2008-09. Kovalchuk scored a power-play goal in the third period Saturday, then added another in the shootout to lift New Jersey to a 3-2 win over Nashville.

The veteran winger had 60 points last season - his fewest since scoring 51 as a rookie with Atlanta in 2001-02 - but his four points (two goals, two assists) this season lead the Devils.

Kovalchuk played 32 minutes, 4 seconds on Saturday, marking the most ice time any NHL forward has logged in a regular-season game since Kovalchuk played 34 minutes, 5 seconds on April 2, 2004, while with Atlanta.

"For me, he's earning our trust as a guy we can use in a lot of different situations," DeBoer told the Devils' official website. "For me, through four games here, he's been out with the net empty at the other end in a 5-on-6 situation and got the job done. He obviously is dangerous every time he's on the ice."

Kovalchuk scored and added an assist in a 2-1 win over the Sharks on Feb. 11 in the last meeting between the teams.

San Jose (1-3-0) has lost eight of the last 10 matchups and hasn't won in New Jersey since a 3-2 victory Nov. 14, 2000. The Sharks will look to end that drought and avoid opening the season with four losses in five games for the first time since 2002-03.

They fell 3-2 to Anaheim on Monday, their third straight loss since a season-opening 6-3 win over Phoenix. Their last three goals have come from defensemen, as Brent Burns scored in a 4-2 loss to St. Louis on Saturday and added another Monday. Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored against the Ducks.

San Jose has been outscored 8-4 during its skid.

"The offense isn't clicking for us just yet,' defenseman Dan Boyle said. "Missed opportunities is the way I look at it.'

Captain Joe Thornton registered his first point on Burns' goal Monday, while neither Patrick Marleau nor Logan Couture - who combined for 69 goals last season - have found the back of the net.

Even with Martin Brodeur out for the next seven to 10 days with a right shoulder injury, it may not get much easier for the Sharks' offense given how well Devils backup Johan Hedberg has played.

Hedberg made 29 saves and two more in the shootout in the win over Nashville, improving to 3-0-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average.

Hedberg made 31 saves in the February meeting against San Jose, though he's only 1-3-0 with a 4.75 GAA in five career appearances against the Sharks.

Antti Niemi may get his second straight start after missing the first three games recovering from the removal of a cyst near his knee. He's 1-1-0 with a 1.46 GAA against New Jersey.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33166 Followers:38
10/21/2011 06:23 PM

Preview: Blue Jackets (0-5) at Red Wings (3-0)

Date: October 21, 2011 7:30 PM EDT

Facing the unbeaten Detroit Red Wings might not present the ideal opportunity for the Columbus Blue Jackets to earn their first win of 2011-12.

The Red Wings look to prolong the worst start in Blue Jackets' history by opening their own season with a fifth consecutive victory Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

While Detroit (4-0-0) is off to its best start since the 1997-98 season that concluded with a Stanley Cup celebration, Columbus (0-5-1) has lost 12 straight games since beating Florida 3-2 in a shootout March 29.

The NHL's only winless team, the Blue Jackets have just one regulation win in their last 28 games.

"You can hang your head and feel sorry for yourself, but nobody else in the league is going to feel sorry for you so you better keep throwing that effort out there,' Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said.

Columbus likely will need a huge effort against Detroit, which has won 10 of the last 13 meetings. The Blue Jackets, however, snapped a five-game skid at Joe Louis with a 3-0 victory Feb. 4.

Scoring that many goals might be considered a major accomplishment for the Blue Jackets, who have tallied two goals in each of their six contests this season. Columbus also has struggled mightily on the power play, going 2 for 30 in that situation. Both power-play goals have come over the last two contests.

"We've got to worry about what we're doing rather than the opposition," star forward Rick Nash told the Blue Jackets' official website. "But we still have to create more offense, through taking a lot of shots and generating scoring chances. The next step is we have to bear down and bury them."

Columbus held a 40-18 shots advantage but fell 3-2 at home to Dallas on Tuesday.

"You'd think with (a season-high) 40 shots you're going to get more than two," Arniel said. "We've got to find a way to get more goals.'

Nash has two goals with four assists this season but has one and three assists in his last 10 games versus Detroit.

Steve Mason, who has posted a 3.35 goals-against average while starting every game this season, stopped 34 shots in the Blue Jackets' shutout victory at Detroit in February.

Johan Franzen, who has three goals with six assists in his last 10 games against the Blue Jackets, scored at 4:11 of overtime Saturday to give Detroit a 3-2 victory at Minnesota. Franzen had a goal with an assist in that game and has recorded all four of his points this season over the last three contests.

Trying to win their first five games for the first time since opening with six consecutive victories in 1972-73, the Red Wings have outscored their opponents 13-5 through four games.

Jimmy Howard has allowed all five goals in three starts and faced just 14 shots against the Wild last weekend. He is 7-1-1 with a 1.61 GAA in 10 career starts versus Columbus.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33166 Followers:38
10/21/2011 06:25 PM

Preview: Hurricanes (3-2) at Blues (2-4)

Date: October 21, 2011 8:00 PM EDT

The Carolina Hurricanes have put their slow start behind them thanks in part to improved special teams.

The Hurricanes will go for their fourth straight win when they visit the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.

Carolina (3-2-1) opened with three consecutive losses, allowing the opposition to go 5 for 16 on the power play. The Hurricanes failed to score with the man advantage in two of those games but have done so in each of their last three - all victories - while killing 14 of their opponents' 15 opportunities.

They had two short-handed goals in a 4-3 win at Buffalo last Friday, then scored two on the power play in a penalty-filled 4-1 win over Boston on Tuesday. It was their second victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions in a week.

"We battled extremely hard," said Cam Ward, who made 34 saves. "We didn't back down from anything and I think you're sensing the chemistry in the locker room - that the guys really want to do it for one another and it showed out there."

Eric Staal, a minus-8 in the previous five games, had one of the two third-period power-play goals.

"We obviously frustrated them in their play," Staal said. "We were in their face and aggressive, and they were trying to get something going."

Ward has gotten things going during the three-game win streak, with a .942 save percentage after posting an .864 mark in losing his first two starts. He's 4-1-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average facing the Blues.

Carolina continues its four-game road trip, which ends Saturday night in Winnipeg, against a Blues team trying to fix its struggling special teams.

St. Louis (2-4-0) has given up at least one power-play goal in every game and is 0 for 19 with the man advantage in its last five.

"You never anticipate that," coach Davis Payne said. "I mean, you anticipate that you're going to have stretches that you have to deal with, and you have to bear down and execute and get the job done on the PK, but this is a little more than we anticipated at this point."

The Blues have lost two straight while giving up nine goals. They fell 5-0 to Los Angeles on Tuesday in the finale of a frustrating four-game road trip.

Already without Andy McDonald (concussion), the offense has been hurt by the struggles of players like David Backes, who has two points through six games after finishing last season with a career-high 62.

Adding to the team's early woes is a rough start by Jaroslav Halak, who allowed four goals on 18 shots Tuesday before being pulled in the opening minute of the third period.

After winning 27 games and posting a 2.48 goals-against average in 57 starts in 2010-11, Halak is 1-4-0 with a 3.47 GAA this season.

Backup Brian Elliot has given up three goals on 42 shots in two appearances.

Friday might not be a good opportunity for Elliot to make his second start, however. In two starts against the Hurricanes last season, he gave up four goals in each and was pulled in one.

Carolina won 2-1 at St. Louis in a shootout Dec. 11 in the teams' only meeting last season.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33166 Followers:38
10/21/2011 06:27 PM

Date WLT Pct Net Units Record
10/20/11 9-­12-­1 42.86% -­1890 Detail
10/19/11 1-­1-­0 50.00% -­50 Detail
10/18/11 9-­11-­0 45.00% -­1295 Detail
10/17/11 6-­2-­0 75.00% +­2360 Detail
10/16/11 1-­1-­0 50.00% 0 Detail
10/15/11 14-­12-­0 53.85% +­155 Detail
10/14/11 3-­1-­0 75.00% +­1195 Detail
10/13/11 8-­8-­2 50.00% +­110 Detail
10/12/11 3-­3-­0 50.00% -­45 Detail
10/11/11 1-­3-­0 25.00% -­1100 Detail
10/10/11 8-­6-­0 57.14% +­1395 Detail
10/09/11 0-­4-­0 0.00% -­2355 Detail
10/08/11 17-­9-­0 65.38% +­3805 Detail
10/07/11 2-­4-­2 33.33% -­1230 Detail
10/06/11 2-­4-­0 33.33% -­1440 Detail
Totals 84-­81-­5 50.91% -­385

Friday, October 21

Game Score Status Pick Amount

San Jose - 7:00 PM ET New Jersey -101 500
New Jersey - Under 5 500

Columbus - 7:30 PM ET Detroit -230 500
Detroit - Under 5.5 500

Carolina - 8:00 PM ET Carolina +126 500
St. Louis - Over 5.5 500

Dallas - 10:00 PM ET Dallas +129 500
Anaheim - Over 5.5 500

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