cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/17/2014 01:30 PM

Flyers, Rangers renew playoff rivalry in NYC

The Philadelphia Flyers will try to get by without their No. 1 goaltender when they visit the New York Rangers on Thursday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

The Flyers announced Wednesday that Steve Mason will not suit up for the opener of this best-of-seven series. Ray Emery will get the start instead and Cal Heeter, who made his NHL debut Sunday in a loss to Carolina, will serve as the backup.

In 36 career playoff games, Emery is 20-15 with a 2.57 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and three shutouts. He led Ottawa to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but hasn't seen action in the postseason since playing for Anaheim in 2011.

Emery was the backup to Corey Crawford in Chicago's run to a Stanley Cup title last spring, but didn't get into a game.

"I get excited to play in these situations, especially the playoffs, especially with a group like this," Emery said.

Of course, Henrik Lundqvist will be the goaltender across the rink from Emery. The Rangers undisputed No. 1 netminder had another solid campaign in 2013-14, setting club records for regular season wins and shutouts along the way.

Although the 32-year-old Swede was 33-24-5 with a 2.36 goals against average and .920 save percentage it still was a down season by Lundqvist's lofty standards. His GAA was the highest its been since Lundqvist posted a 2.38 in 2009-10 and the netminder's save percentage was his worst effort since finishing the 2008-09 campaign at .916.

New York only has made it out of the second round once since Lundqvist took over the starting role in 2005-06, but it's hardly been his fault. In 67 playoff games, Lundqvist has posted a 2.28 GAA and .920 save percentage.

The Flyers and Rangers have been divisional rivals for decades, but this series marks the first playoff meeting between the clubs since 1997 when Philadelphia downed New York in five games for the Eastern Conference title.

Overall, Philadelphia has won six of the 10 playoff series between the franchises and has claimed three straight and four of the past five encounters.

The Flyers and Rangers split four meetings in 2013-14, with each team winning twice at its home arena. New York's home-ice advantage could loom large in this series, as the Blueshirts have claimed eight in a row at home against the Flyers, who last won at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 20, 2011.

The Rangers finished second in the Metropolitan Division and two points ahead of Philadelphia to capture home ice in this series.

Flyers captain and star centerman Claude Giroux only managed two assists in the four meetings with the Rangers this season and that's certainly not a good sign for Philadelphia. Forward Matt Read and defenseman Mark Streit were the best offensive players for the Flyers in the season series, posting one goal and two assists apiece.

Meanwhile, New York's best weapon against the Flyers this season was speedy forward Chris Kreider, who had two goals and two assists in three games against Philly but does not expect to play in this set. Brad Richards had one goal and two assists over four games, while Rick Nash had a goal and an assist in three outings.

Lundqvist went 2-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA against the Flyers this season. Emery did not face New York this season, but is 7-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA in 10 career regular-season games against the Blueshirts.

One concern for New York heading into the opening round is the health of No. 1 defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who sat out the last five games of the regular season with a bruised left shoulder. Although McDonagh expects to play in Game 1, it will be interesting to see how his shoulder holds up against the postseason grind.

McDonagh led New York's blue line this season in goals (14), assists (29), plus-minus (plus-11), penalty minutes (36) and shots (177). He also led the club with an average ice time of 24 minutes, 59 seconds and finished fifth on the team's overall scoring list with 43 points.

Rangers forward Derick Brassard left practice on Tuesday with a back issue, but expects to play tonight. Brassard was fourth on the team this season with 45 points off 18 goals and 27 assists.

Philadelphia's Steve Downie is out with an upper-body injury, but fellow forward Zac Rinaldo could play Thursday after completing a four-game suspension. Rinaldo received the ban for delivering a head shot against Buffalo defenseman Chad Ruhwedel on April 6.

New York will host the second tilt of this series on Sunday before the venue shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4.

The Rangers were 20-17-4 as the home club this season, while Philly was 18-16-7 as the guest.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/17/2014 01:32 PM

Blues, Blackhawks begin playoff battle in St. Louis

The St. Louis Blues need to put a rough ending to the regular season behind them if they want to get past the defending Stanley Cup champions in the opening round of the playoffs.

The struggling Blues hope to get back on track when they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Thursday's Game 1 encounter at Scottrade Center.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, St. Louis was in the running to capture the Presidents' Trophy as the league's top point-earning team. Instead, an 0-6-0 skid knocked the Blues out of first place in the Central Division, where they finished a point behind the Colorado Avalanche to earn a much-tougher first-round matchup against a Chicago team that has won two of the last four Stanley Cup titles.

St. Louis went 3-2-0 in the season series against the Blackhawks, with two of those wins coming in a shootout. Chicago, though, has won seven of the 10 all- time playoff series between the Central Division rivals.

While this will mark the 11th all-time playoff series for these two clubs, they are meeting for the first time since the Blues ousted the Blackhawks in five games of the 2002 conference quarterfinals.

The good news for St. Louis is that it is getting healthy. A rash of injuries contributed to the club's season-ending slump and forwards David Backes, Vladimir Sobotka, T.J. Oshie, Brenden Morrow and Patrik Berglund are considered questionable for the start of this series.

However, a number of those players have returned to practice and Oshie, Backes, Morrow and Sobotka could all play in Game 1. So could forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who has been sidelined since the middle of March with an injured right hand.

"We're going to have everyone back at some point in the first round," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said on Wednesday.

Ryan Miller was acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline and enters this series as the No. 1 netminder for the Blues. St. Louis hopes Miller can help the club get out of the first round after it fell in six games to Los Angeles in the opening series last spring.

Miller was 10-8-1 with a 2.47 goals against average and .903 save percentage in 19 starts with the Blues and is 25-22 lifetime in the postseason with a 2.47 GAA and .917 save percentage. That includes two deep runs with the Sabres in 2006 and '07.

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford didn't slow down after helping Chicago win the Cup a season ago as he went 32-16-10 with a 2.26 goals against average and .917 save percentage in 59 games, including 56 starts. Crawford is 21-15 with a 2.04 GAA in the postseason.

Like the Blues, Chicago played the end of the regular season without some key players but the Blackhawks are as healthy as they can be since forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been declared ready to go for Game 1.

Kane missed the final 12 games of the regular season with a lower-body injury, while Toews sat out the last six with an upper-body issue. Toews, the team captain, won the Conn Smythe Trophy when Chicago won it all in 2010 and Kane claimed the playoff MVP award last spring.

"I'm excited to get things going," said the reigning Conn Smythe winner. "I've watched a lot of hockey lately, so it's going to be nice to play in some games now."

The return of Kane and Toews bulks up Chicago's talented top-six that also includes Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and the up-and-coming Brandon Saad.

Chicago won the Central Division last season in a lockout-shortened campaign and battled its way to a second Stanley Cup title in four years. The Blackhawks hope to become the first repeat champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

The Blues, who were 28-9-4 at home this season, will host Game 2 of this series on Saturday. Chicago was 19-14-8 on the road in 2013-14.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/17/2014 01:33 PM

Surprising Avs open playoffs at home against Wild

The Colorado Avalanche were the biggest surprise of the NHL's regular season. The Central Division champions now hope to carry their shocking success into the playoffs, as the Avalanche welcome the Minnesota Wild to Pepsi Center for Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Colorado not only made the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the club also earned its first division title since 2002-03. Winning the Central was no small feat, as the Avs finished ahead of an excellent St. Louis Blues team and also the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The Avs figured to be a team on the upswing after landing talented center Nathan MacKinnon with the top overall pick of the 2013 draft and hiring former goaltender great Patrick Roy as their head coach. But an outstanding season by netminder Semyon Varlamov expedited the process and his Vezina Trophy-worthy season -- as well as a late collapse by the Blues -- helped the Avs take the division, setting up this first-round matchup against the Wild, who claimed the first of the West's two wild card spots.

Varlamov led the NHL with 41 victories, breaking Roy's single-season franchise mark set in 2000-01. He also surpassed his head coach for the most home victories by an Avalanche goaltender in a season with 24.

All will be for naught though if Varlamov's postseason debut with Colorado goes sour. He has not played a playoff game since 2010 with the Washington Capitals and in 19 total games of postseason experience, the Russian is 10-9 with a 2.49 goals against average and .915 save percentage.

There may be some additional pressure on Varlamov and the defense as forward Matt Duchene may miss the entire series with a bruised knee suffered on March 29. Duchene still led the Avs with 47 assists and 70 points, but Colorado did manage to go 5-1-2 down the stretch without him.

The Avalanche snapped a three-year playoff drought by matching a franchise record with 52 victories and setting another mark with 26 road wins. Their 112 points were good for second-most in the club's single-season history.

Minnesota is in the playoffs for the second straight season, making the club 2-for-2 in postseason appearances since it broke the bank to sign both forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter in the summer of 2012.

The Wild snapped a four-year postseason drought by earning the eighth seed a season ago, only to fall in five games to the Chicago Blackhawks. This season, Minnesota racked up impressive totals of 43 wins and 98 points -- a 17-point improvement from the full 2011-12 campaign.

The usual suspects came through as Jason Pominville, Parise, Mikko Koivu and Suter were Minnesota's top four scorers.

The Wild had four goaltenders make at least 10 starts this season, but Ilya Bryzgalov is the No. 1 option heading into the playoffs. Bryzgalov was acquired from Edmonton at the trade deadline and the Russian veteran went 7-1-3 with a 2.12 goals against average and .911 save percentage in 12 games with Minnesota.

Bryzgalov has appeared in 38 postseason games, though his numbers aren't great. He is 17-19 with a 2.81 GAA and .908 save percentage.

The Avalanche got a point in all five of their meetings with the Wild this season, going 4-0-1.

Varlamov was 3-0-1 with a 2.16 GAA in four games, while Bryzgalov did not face the Avalanche since joining the Wild. The Russian has, however, won all four of his previous playoff games against them, posting a 0.94 GAA and two shutouts while with the Anaheim Ducks back in 2006.

This is the third all-time playoff meeting between the clubs. The Wild won a 2003 conference quarterfinals matchup in seven games, while the Avalanche knocked off Minnesota in six games during the same round in 2008.

Colorado also will host Game 2 of this best-of-seven series on Saturday. The Avs were 26-11-4 on home ice in 2013-14, while Minnesota was just 17-17-7 on the road.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/17/2014 01:34 PM

Sharks host Kings in Game 1 of postseason rematch

The San Jose Sharks are out for revenge in the opening round of the playoffs, as they attempt to knock out the team that eliminated them from last spring's postseason.

The Sharks have home-ice advantage this time against the Los Angeles Kings, who are visiting the SAP Center for Thursday's Game 1 battle between the Pacific Division rivals.

This marks the third all-time playoff meeting between these clubs and second in a row. The Kings gutted out a low-scoring seven-game victory in last season's second round, one that left the franchise spent ahead of a five-game loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the conference finals. San Jose lost the first two games of last year's playoff matchup versus Los Angeles before rallying to get back into the set.

The Sharks defeated L.A. in six games in the 2011 conference quarterfinals. That was the last time the Kings, who won the franchise's first Stanley Cup title in 2012, were knocked out in the first round.

These California rivals played a close five-game season series in 2013-14, with the Kings owning a 3-1-1 edge. The teams combined for just 21 goals and skated in four games decided by a single goal.

Kings netminder Jonathan Quick won both of his games this season versus the Sharks, giving up just three goals, and is 11-4-5 versus them in the regular season lifetime as well as 6-7 in the playoffs with a 2.25 goals against average and three shutouts.

Quick, the 2012 Conn Smythe winner, has excellent career playoff numbers, going 29-21 with a .929 save percentage and 2.03 in 50 lifetime postseason appearances.

Like Quick, the Sharks boast a goaltender with a Stanley Cup-winning resume in Antti Niemi, who won a title with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. However, the 30-year-old Finn was less impressive in his first two appearances in the playoffs with the Sharks before a solid run in 2013.

Niemi went 7-4 with a 1.87 goals against average and .930 save percentage lasts spring as the Sharks swept their first-round series before a tight seven-game loss to the Kings. San Jose's No. 1 has had his struggles down the stretch this season, perhaps the result of having played in 64 games, and he'll have backup Alex Stalock hovering over his shoulder.

Niemi went 2-1-1 with a 2.67 GAA in this season's series, while Stalock lost his only start despite giving up just one goal. Niemi is 6-6 in the playoffs against the Kings with a 2.74 GAA and .897 save percentage.

Although Sharks head coach Todd McLellan would not officially reveal his starter for Game 1, all signs point to Niemi getting the call over Stalock.

Both the Kings and Sharks are deep at both ends of the ice, but L.A. uses its depth more for defense than offense. The Kings allowed an NHL-best 2.05 goals per game this season, but were ranked 26th in offense (2.42 gpg).

San Jose had a balanced attack, placing fifth in the league with 2.35 goals against per contest while tying St. Louis for sixth in scoring (2.92 gpg).

Both teams enter this playoff battle without many injuries to note. Kings No. 1 defenseman Drew Doughty is dealing with a bruised left shoulder, but he expects to play in Game 1.

The Sharks, meanwhile, saw forward Tomas Hertl return late in the regular season from a knee injury. Hertl missed over three months of action and 45 games after L.A. captain Dustin Brown delivered a knee-on-knee hit on the Czech rookie.

Hertl had 15 goals and 10 assists in 37 games this season and is hoping to prove himself in his first NHL postseason.

San Jose was 29-7-5 as the home team this season and will host Game 2 on Sunday. The Kings were 23-14-4 as the visiting club in 2013-14.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/17/2014 11:57 PM

Getzlaf plans to play in Ducks' Game 2

April 17, 2014

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - A day after Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf took a slap shot to the head, the Ducks had already found the lighter side of a potentially disastrous playoff injury.

''Luckily, he's married, has a couple of kids,'' Anaheim defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. ''He's not trying to impress anybody with his face.''

Coach Bruce Boudreau was more succinct: ''I didn't want to look at him,'' he said.

Nobody in either dressing room was surprised Thursday to learn Getzlaf plans to play against the Dallas Stars in Game 2 on Friday night despite that huge cut on his face. Getzlaf was hit by Tyler Seguin's shot in the final minute of the Ducks' 4-3 victory over Dallas on Wednesday night in the series opener, but the puck apparently broke no bones - which means it'll be almost impossible to keep Getzlaf off the ice.

''That's why he is who he is,'' Boudreau said. ''That's why he's won two gold medals and a Stanley Cup and he's not 30. He learned from the Scotty Niedermayers and the Chris Prongers that were here before him, too. He's a battler and a gamer. It won't look too pretty, but he's going to be playing.''

Getzlaf was the NHL's second-leading scorer this season with 87 points, having a spectacular offensive season while doing more of the Ducks' defensive dirty work than ever before. His two-way game was on display in the opener, and Anaheim followed his lead to hold off the Stars despite blowing most of a four-goal lead.

The Ducks know they've got to maintain their focus on that dirty work to take control of the series before heading to Dallas. Anaheim had a spectacular first half of Game 1 before slipping late in the second period.

''You'd like to put your foot on their throat, but they showed they can score some goals when they have to,'' Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler said. ''They've got momentum going into Game 2.''

Five more things to examine when the Ducks return against Dallas:

FILM WORK: Dallas coach Lindy Ruff held the longest film session of the season on Thursday, but mostly focused on what the Stars did well in the series opener. With captain Jamie Benn leading a long list of Stars making their postseason debuts, Ruff wants to keep his team's morale high after an early setback. ''It's my job to get them in the right place, and they weren't in quite the right place yesterday,'' Ruff said.

BELESKEY'S WOES: Getzlaf isn't the only top-line Ducks forward nursing an injury. Matt Beleskey might not play in Game 2 after leaving the opener in the third period. Beleskey said he has been struggling for weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury that's been ''all over the place'' in its severity. He plans to evaluate himself Friday morning before deciding whether to try. Beleskey is easier to replace in the Ducks' lineup than Getzlaf, but the energetic forward would be missed.

HEAVY LOAD: The Ducks used their speed and passing abilities to carve up the Stars' depleted defense for numerous scoring chances, particularly early. With Brenden Dillon still sidelined by an undisclosed injury, the Stars leaned heavily on defensemen Trevor Daley (who played 26:14) and Alex Goligoski (a whopping 28:39) to keep the Ducks at bay. Goligoski, who didn't skate Thursday, was encouraged by the way Dallas finished. ''I don't think (Anaheim) had too many shifts where they were buzzing down there (in the Dallas end),'' he said.

DUCKY DEBUT: Rookie goalie Frederik Andersen stopped 32 shots to win his NHL playoff debut, and Boudreau indicated the 6-foot-4 Dane is likely to start again in Game 2 over veteran Jonas Hiller. Andersen has impressed his teammates with his preternatural calm all season long. ''It's almost like he's got no heartbeat,'' Corey Perry said. ''He just goes out, finds the puck and stops it.''

MOMENTUM SHIFT?: Even though Anaheim has the chance to take its first two-game lead in a playoff series since 2009, both teams believe Dallas is starting Game 2 with no disadvantage. ''I think we're back on an even playing field, even though we're up 1-0,'' Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. ''The way they finished the game, it feels like we're even.''

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/17/2014 11:59 PM

Jackets prep for Game 2 against Pens

April 17, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets don't feel they're doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

''It's not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,'' goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday's optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

The Blue Jackets had 11 skaters appear in their very first playoff game. Yet they played like wily veterans, building a 3-1 lead early in the second period. The Penguins came back with two power-play goals in the span of 45 seconds to tie it before Brandon Sutter's game-winner midway through the third period.

''They're a good team. They play hard. They have a good goaltender,'' Sutter said. ''They're a well-balanced team. It's going to be a tough series.''

The Blue Jackets flew home for a couple of practices before Saturday's Game 2. Ten players skated Thursday morning, including injured forwards R.J. Umberger (shoulder) and Nick Foligno (knee). Umberger may be available Saturday, pending approval from doctors, while Foligno probably won't play before Game 3 at the earliest.

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards liked his club's gritty play in the opener. But he knows Columbus needs to cut back on penalties, tighten up on defense, and make better decisions with the puck in the neutral zone.

The Penguins appeared uncomfortable with the Blue Jackets' physical, checking play. Frustrated Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang stuck his stick in the midsection of rookie Boone Jenner after a big hit to pick up a penalty. Star center Evgeni Malkin appeared to take umbrage with a couple of Blue Jackets - including Russian Olympic teammate Fedor Tyutin - after hits.

''I'm not as concerned about frustrating them or driving them crazy,'' Richards said. ''I just want us to play hard. I thought we did that last night. But I think we can be better and work harder - and we're going to need to be because I'm expecting (the Penguins) to be better.''

Umberger, a proud Pittsburgh native, said he wasn't surprised by his team's performance.

''We played to our identity. We were a heavy team and we had a lot of hits,'' he said. ''We were relentless. You could tell we were getting under their skins like we do.''

Richards put hard-nosed center Brandon Dubinsky on the ice to shadow Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby most shifts. Crosby wasn't much of a factor in Game 1.

''We have to learn from it but we found a way to win,'' Crosby said. ''Obviously we didn't start the way we wanted, getting down two goals. I think we have to clean up some things, but it's nice to get the first one.''

Foligno, who joked the game was much easier watching from the press box, is one of the few Blue Jackets who have been in the brightest lights of the NHL season. He said his youngest teammates - including 20-year-old defenseman Ryan Murray, 21-year-old leading scorer Ryan Johansen and the gritty 20-year-old rookie Jenner - were particularly impressive.

''This team is definitely trending in the right direction,'' Foligno said. ''We did a lot of good things to dictate the play, and if we continue to do that and then shore up some areas, we can give ourselves a real good chance.''

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/18/2014 12:01 AM

Bruins set for fresh start in postseason

April 17, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy by leading the NHL with 117 points.

Another number shows just how much, or little, that means.

''I heard about 40 percent of the series are upsets in the first round,'' Boston coach Claude Julien said.

''You have teams that have high expectations. You have teams that have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So that certainly makes that first round a challenge.''

That begins for top-seeded Boston on Friday night against eighth-seeded Detroit.

The Red Wings had 24 fewer points in the regular season but went 3-1 against the Bruins, a sign that Detroit's speedy, puck-possession style can overcome Boston's physical approach.

''I think we're complete,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. ''I think we're way better than people think.''

A glance at the past three seasons should convince the Bruins not to take a first-round opponent lightly.

They had the better seed in each of those series, but played the full seven games in all of them including a loss to Washington in 2012.

''We certainly learned from all those Game 7s that we've had to go through in the first round that it is important to be on top of your game at the end of the year and not limp in to the playoffs,'' Julien said, ''which I thought we did at times after we solidified our playoff spot.''

Another lesson could keep the Bruins from losing focus. They scored the third-most goals in the NHL this season, but Pittsburgh led the league a year earlier then got just two goals in a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston in the Eastern Conference final.

''I feel comfortable with the fact that we have some depth at scoring this year, a little bit more than we did last year,'' Julien said. ''We really limited Pittsburgh to very few goals with a lot of goal scorers there.

''So, again, nothing is guaranteed in the playoffs. You've got to work for your goals. Just because you got them during the season doesn't mean you're necessarily going to get them automatically in the playoffs.''

The Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in last year's Stanley Cup final. Expectations are for Boston, the 2011 Cup winners, to make another solid run at the title.

''All of the pressure is going to be on them,'' Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. ''They've got to win, we're not supposed to. We've got to make it as hard as possible on them.''

Five other things to look for when two members of the Original Six meet in the first round:

INJURY LIST: Center Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (broken finger) are expected to miss the series for Detroit. ''We were always shooting for Round 2,'' Zetterberg said. ''If it's just before that I will be happy.'' Bruins forward Chris Kelly (back) and Daniel Paille (head) missed practice Thursday. ''Hopefully, it continues to improve, which it has this week,'' Julien said.

GOALIE MATCHUP: Boston has the edge in goal with Tuukka Rask, who led the NHL with seven shutouts and was second with a 9.30 save percentage. Howard was 36th with a 9.10 save percentage while posting two shutouts. But Boston had a better defense in front of Rask, despite the loss of Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid for much of the season. Seidenberg is expected to miss the playoffs, while McQuaid's return is uncertain.

POWER PLAY: Boston improved its power play this season and finished third by scoring on 21.7 percent of its chances. Detroit was 18th at 17.7 percent. ''They have two different looks,'' Babcock said. ''They have a spread power play in the one group and an overload with (Patrice) Bergeron high in the other. ... They can't run, go crazy on the power play for us to have success.''

HUNGRY IGINLA: Still an outstanding scorer at age 36, Boston right wing Jarome Iginla has never won a Stanley Cup in 15 seasons with Calgary and last year when he was traded from the Flames to Pittsburgh. Detroit, in the playoffs for the 23rd straight time, will have its hands full trying to stop him, left wing Milan Lucic and center David Krejci on Boston's top line. ''This is as good a chance as I believe I've had'' to win the Stanley Cup, said Iginla, whose 30 goals tied Bergeron for the team lead.

OLYMPIC REUNION: Bruins forward Loui Eriksson played with Red Wings defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Eriksson and forwards Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson on Sweden's team that won the silver medal at the Olympics. Babcock was head coach and Julien was an assistant for Canada's team that won the gold medal. ''What Claude does is he's well prepared, he's a good man, treats people well, he's a high-end coach,'' Babcock said, ''and you know they've built something special that they're good year after year after year.''

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/18/2014 12:02 AM

Canadiens hope to build on Game 1 win

April 17, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Carey Price concedes that failing to protect a pair of third-period leads is not a formula for success in the NHL playoffs.

The Montreal Canadiens won the opening game of their series against Tampa Bay without a stellar performance from one of the league's top goaltenders, and they know they will have to be much better defensively the rest of the way against the young Lightning.

Price shared the NHL's third-best save percentage during the regular season, and then allowed four goals in Tampa Bay's first 14 shots in Game 1. The Canadiens still managed to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series, with Dale Weise scoring his first career playoff goal for a 5-4 overtime win on Wednesday.

Game 2 is Friday night.

''It's always a positive to win a game when you give up four goals,'' Price said after practice Thursday. ''Moving forward, obviously we would like to reduce that.''

Price finished with 21 saves, nine of them in the extra period. The Canadiens, who are not known for their scoring prowess, outshot Tampa Bay 44-25, a trend that cannot continue for the Lightning to have any success.

''We didn't get the win, so it's tough to find positives,'' said Steven Stamkos, who scored two goals to give Tampa Bay a chance while playing without injured goaltender Ben Bishop.

''Five goals against, way too many in the playoffs,'' Stamkos, the Lightning captain, said. ''Hopefully, everybody has a taste of playoff hockey. They know what it's all about. We definitely have to do better to stay in this thing.''

Despite Price not being on top of his game, Montreal felt it played well overall. The Canadiens got goals from all four of their lines, and Weise made the most of a wide-open look in front of the net.

''I won't miss too many from there,'' said Weise, who scored six goals in 61 games with Vancouver and the Canadiens this season. The 25-year-old forward has 13 goals in 179 career regular-season games.

Anders Lindback stopped 39 shots for Tampa Bay. With Bishop out indefinitely after injuring his left elbow against Toronto on April 8, the Lightning will have to ride their backup goalie as far as he can take them.

Coach Jon Cooper felt the Lightning left Lindback in some bad situations in Game 1, including leaving Weise alone for the winning goal.

''Do we have better in us? Most certainly we do,'' said Cooper, who is finishing his first full season behind Tampa Bay's bench. ''I know we can play much better than that.''

The Lightning came away from the opener feeling that much of the damage against them was self-inflicted. Nearly half the roster lacked playoff experience before Wednesday, but Cooper and his players did not accept that as an excuse for not being able to hold a pair of early leads against Price.

Tampa Bay lost rookie Ondrej Palat, one of its top scorers, to an upper-body injury in the third period. Still, Cooper felt the team weathered adversity and played its best in overtime.

Alex Killorn was instrumental in extending the game, scoring in the third period and then assisting on Stamkos' goal that forced OT.

''I think at the beginning, we might have been a little too excited. As the game wore on, I thought we handled it pretty well,'' Killorn said.

''Everybody likes to say we are young and don't have a lot of playoff experience,'' said the 24-year-old forward, who made his playoff debut. ''But we all know how to play hockey.''

Price is confident the Canadiens will build on what they did well in the opener, too.

''I thought our puck pressure was really good. We were skating very well and playing in-your-face type of hockey,'' Price said. ''I think if we want to have continued success, we're going to have to bring the same type of mentality and effort.''

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/18/2014 12:08 PM


Dallas at Anaheim
The Ducks look to follow up their Game 1 win as they take on a Dallas team that is 1-4 in its last 5 road games. Anaheim is the pick (-185) according to Dunkel, which has the Ducks favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Anaheim (-185). Here are all of today's playoff picks.


Game 65-66: Detroit at Boston (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 11.112; Boston 13.062
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-200); 5
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-200); Under

Game 67-68: Montreal at Tampa Bay (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Montreal 11.508; Tampa Bay 11.020
Dunkel Line & Total: Montreal by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Tampa Bay (-115); 5
Dunkel Pick: Montreal (-105); Over

Game 69-70: Dallas at Anaheim (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 11.253; Anaheim 12.850
Dunkel Line & Total: Anaheim by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Anaheim (-185); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Anaheim (-185); Under

Long Sheet

Friday, April 18


DETROIT (39-28-0-15, 93 pts.) at BOSTON (54-19-0-9, 117 pts.) - 4/18/2014, 7:35 PM
Top Trends for this game.
BOSTON is 54-28 ATS (+88.9 Units) in all games this season.
DETROIT is 98-57 ATS (+23.7 Units) in road games after a non-conference game since 1996.
BOSTON is 168-141 ATS (-37.8 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a losing record since 1996.
BOSTON is 78-72 ATS (-59.7 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a losing record in the second half of the season since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
DETROIT is 4-1 (+4.0 Units) against the spread versus BOSTON over the last 3 seasons
DETROIT is 4-1-0 straight up against BOSTON over the last 3 seasons
2 of 3 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+0.9 Units)


MONTREAL (47-28-0-8, 102 pts.) at TAMPA BAY (46-27-0-10, 102 pts.) - 4/18/2014, 7:05 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
MONTREAL is 6-5-0 straight up against TAMPA BAY over the last 3 seasons
6 of 11 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+0.6 Units)


DALLAS (40-32-0-11, 91 pts.) at ANAHEIM (55-20-0-8, 118 pts.) - 4/18/2014, 10:05 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
DALLAS is 9-6 (+4.6 Units) against the spread versus ANAHEIM over the last 3 seasons
DALLAS is 9-6-0 straight up against ANAHEIM over the last 3 seasons
7 of 15 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=-2.0 Units, Under=-0.2 Units)


Saturday, April 19


CHICAGO (46-21-0-15, 107 pts.) at ST LOUIS (52-23-0-7, 111 pts.) - 4/19/2014, 3:05 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
CHICAGO is 9-6 (+2.1 Units) against the spread versus ST LOUIS over the last 3 seasons
CHICAGO is 9-6-0 straight up against ST LOUIS over the last 3 seasons
8 of 15 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+0.1 Units)


COLUMBUS (43-33-0-7, 93 pts.) at PITTSBURGH (52-24-0-7, 111 pts.) - 4/19/2014, 7:05 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 7-0 (+7.0 Units) against the spread versus COLUMBUS over the last 3 seasons
PITTSBURGH is 7-0-0 straight up against COLUMBUS over the last 3 seasons
4 of 7 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+1.2 Units)


MINNESOTA (43-27-0-12, 98 pts.) at COLORADO (52-22-0-8, 112 pts.) - 4/19/2014, 9:35 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
COLORADO is 8-7 (+0.1 Units) against the spread versus MINNESOTA over the last 3 seasons
COLORADO is 8-7-0 straight up against MINNESOTA over the last 3 seasons
8 of 13 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.2 Units)


Armadillo's Write-Up

Friday, April 18

Detroit is in first year in Eastern Conference; they're 3-1 in their last four first round series, despite being lower-seeded team two of three years they won. Red Wings are 22-19 on road this season; they won three of four with Boston this season, winning last three games after Bruins won first meeting 4-1. Top-seed Boston is 31-10 at home- they lost five of their last seven games after clinching division- they're 4-1 in last five first round series.

Lightning won three of four vs Montreal this season, then lost Game 1 here in OT, with the Canadiens outshooting them 44-25; Habs are 4-1 in last four visits here, with five of last six series games staying under total. Tampa won four of last five games, but gave up five goals Wednesday, after giving up four in winning last four regular season games. Montreal won eight of last eleven games, five of seven on road. Lightning had 50-36 edge in faceoffs; both teams failed to score on two power plays each in Game 1.

Ducks won last five games after racing out to 4-0 lead in Game 1, then holding on for dear life; they're 31-11 at home- eight of their last eleven games overall went over total. Anaheim was 2-5 on power play, won faceoffs 46-37. Ducks lost four of last five games with Stars- six of last ten series games stayed under. Dallas is just 6-5 in last eleven games, with six of last eight games staying under the total; Stars were 1-5 with their power play chances.


Friday, April 18

Trend Report

7:00 PM
Montreal is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay
Montreal is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games on the road
Tampa Bay is 3-6 SU in its last 9 games when playing Montreal
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Tampa Bay's last 6 games when playing Montreal

7:30 PM
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Detroit's last 6 games on the road
Detroit is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Boston
Boston is 17-6 SU in its last 23 games
Boston is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games

10:00 PM
Dallas is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 14 of Dallas's last 19 games when playing on the road against Anaheim
The total has gone OVER in 14 of Anaheim's last 19 games when playing at home against Dallas
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Anaheim's last 6 games when playing Dallas



Friday, April 18

Friday's NHL playoffs betting news and notes

Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning (-108, 5)

Montreal dominated Game 1 and swarmed the Lighting for long stretches but had to overcome a shaky performance by goaltender Carey Price before prevailing on Dale Weise's goal with less than two minutes left in the first overtime. The Canadiens scored one goal in each of the four regular-season meetings between the teams, so the offensive eruption was nearly as much of a surprise as Weise playing the hero. "I can’t remember the last time I scored an overtime goal, but this has to be the biggest goal of my career," said Weise, who has 11 goals in 163 games.

Tampa Bay suffered a blow in the series opener when rookie and leading scorer Ondrej Palat exited the game with an upper-body injury, the same ailment that sidelined him for the regular-season finale. Palat, who had 23 goals and 36 assists, missed practice Thursday and will be a game-time decision, according to head coach Jon Cooper. One plus for the Lightning was the play of replacement Alex Killorn, who scored in the third period before setting up captain Steven Stamkos' tying tally. Starting netminder Ben Bishop, who missed the final three games of the season, practiced in a limited duty Thursday but Cooper said: "I don't think we'll be seeing Bishop anytime soon."


* Canadiens are 4-1 in the last five meetings in Tampa Bay.
* Over is 4-1-2 in Lightning last seven Conference Quarterfinals games.
* Canadiens are 12-4 in their last 16 overall.

Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (-185, 5)

With captain Henrik Zetterberg and standout Pavel Datsyuk out for long stretches, Gustav Nyquist emerged as a star by scoring 28 goals - 23 during a stunning 28-game span. Detroit dressed 13 players who helped Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League last season, including rookies Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco. "The young guys add a big element to the team," center Darren Helm said. "They’re going to be important guys in the playoffs." Datsyuk returned in early April to join veterans Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen, but the onus will be on Jimmy Howard, who had a sub-par season before winning four of his last five starts.

The only team to win at least 30 home games (31-7-3) en route to capturing the Presidents' Trophy, Boston features a deep, balanced attack, one of the top netminders in Tuukka Rask and a defense anchored by towering captain Zdeno Chara. Patrice Bergeron, one of five Bruins to score at least 20 goals, may have supplanted Datsyuk as the league's premier two-way player following a 30-goal season that tied rejuvenated veteran Jarome Iginla for the team lead. "It's not by accident you hear his name in the Hart Trophy conversation," Boston coach Claude Julien said of Bergeron's MVP chances. Rask registered a league-high seven shutouts as the Bruins posted an NHL-best 84-goal differential.


* Red Wings are 7-1 in the last eight meetings.
* Under is 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings in Boston.
* Bruins are 45-19 in their last 64 vs. Eastern Conference.

Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks (-176, 5.5)

Nine of Dallas' 18 skaters made their postseason debut on Wednesday, including goal-scorers Colton Sceviour and Jamie Benn. But the captain refused to cite that as the reason the team played poorly over the first 35 minutes. "We don't want to use that as an excuse," Benn said. "We know how we have to play to beat these guys and we're just going to need a real strong effort (Friday)."

Matt Beleskey got hurt in the opener, leaving the contest midway through the third period with a lower-body injury he says has been an ongoing issue for most of the season. It is uncertain whether or not he will be available Friday. "I'll see how I feel (Friday)," Beleskey told the team's website. "It's going to be every morning coming in and seeing how I feel from there." Anaheim will need to do a better job on line changes, as it was called for a pair of too-many-men-on-the-ice penalties Wednesday.


* Over is 14-5 in the last 19 meetings in Anaheim.
* Stars are 1-4 in their last five road games.
* Over is 8-2-6 in Ducks last 16 Conference Quarterfinals games.



Friday, April 18

Patrice Bergeron, Boston - Prob Fri

Bergeron is recovering from a lower-body injury and has participated in two consecutive practices. He is expected to be ready for the opening game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Friday against the Red Wings.

Underdog Red Wings fare well versus Bruins

At +260 to win the series, the Detroit Red Wings might be one of the biggest longshots in the first round, but they have had great success versus the Boston Bruins in recent meetings.

In the previous eight meetings between the two Original Six franchises, the Red Wings have posted a 7-1 record. Take that with a grain of salt, however, as that mark stretches back to 2009 with no games played between the two in either 2010 and 2012.

But bettors looking for a dog can find a little more solace in the fact that the Wings were 3-1 in the 2013-14 season - their first as a member of the Eastern Conference.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33418 Followers:38
04/18/2014 12:10 PM


Friday, April 18

Red Wings' Zetterberg "shooting" for round two

The Detroit Red Wings face an uphill battle against the powerhouse Boston Bruins, but they will also be without one of the best players in the world a little longer.

"We were always shooting for round two," Henrik Zetterberg told ESPN Thursday. "If it's just before that I will be happy."

Even though Zetterberg has not played for the Red Wings' since Feb. 8, he still has 48 points on the season. Detroit (+174) faces a tough task against the President Trophy winning Boston Bruins (-190).

Offense still the story of playoffs, bettors bank on over

Last time we checked, the NHL playoffs were suppose to be tight, grinder-type games. That certainly is not the case so far this year as teams are scoring all over. Through two days of the playoffs, bettors can rely on the over with a 6-0-1 O/U record.

Through seven games, the average number of goals scored per game is 7.6. This high average includes three games tallying up nine goals and three netting seven. The lone push came when the Rangers beat up on the Flyers 4-1.

There are three games on tap for Friday, with the Canadiens/Lighting and Ducks/Stars series both already going over in their first game.

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