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Bruins favored at Detroit on Wednesday, while Kings host Sharks

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While the Boston Bruins are coming off an ugly defeat, they take a strong recent track record against the Detroit Red Wings into their matchup on Wednesday.

All-Star goalie Tuukka Rask and the Bruins are -140 road betting favorites against the +110 underdog Red Wings with a 5.5-goal total for their betting matchup at Joe Louis Arena, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

In the other major Wednesday night rivalry matchup, the San Jose Sharks travel down the California coast to face their Pacific Division rival, the Los Angeles Kings.

The Bruins, who are 23-19-5, are in action for the first time since Monday when they were shut out 4-0 by the  New York Islanders, who fired coach Jack Capuano the following day. Boston is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games against the Red Wings, though, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. With standout forwards such as Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, the Bruins are among the NHL leaders in generating scoring chances.

The Red Wings, who are 19-19-6, are seeking their first three-game winning streak of the season and have had a three-day break since defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday. Detroit has been counting on rookie goalie Jared Coreau and is 2-6 SU in home games against its division this season.

The total has gone under seven of the last 10 times that Boston has been a road favorite with a -125 to -500 moneyline, with two pushes. The total has also gone under in seven of the Bruins’ last 10 road games against fellow Atlantic Division teams.

The Sharks, 26-16-2 SU, will have to make a lineup adjustment now that RW Jonas Donskoi is on injured reserve and RW Barclay Goodrow has been called up from the minors as a reinforcement. Counting the playoffs, the Sharks are 7-3 SU in their last 10 road games against the Kings.

Sharks goalie Martin Jones has a 1.76 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in two starts against the Kings this season.

The Kings, 22-18-4 SU, are desperate for a home win since they are about to embark on a long road swing. Los Angeles has had an uneven output at the Staples Center, where it is 5-5 SU in its last 10 games against teams from its division. Captain Anze Kopitar (illness) is expected to return, but the Kings are still without key goal scorer Tyler Toffoli (knee).

The total has gone under only once in the Sharks’ last 10 road games, with six pushes.

US Olympic women’s hockey player Anne Schleper retires

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) Olympic defender Anne Schleper retired from the U.S. women’s national hockey team program Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Schleper earned a silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and helped the United States win world titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

“I will forever cherish the dreams I accomplished with my teammates and the amazing journey we took together. I am so very proud to have been a part of Team USA and representing something greater than ourselves at all times,” Schleper said in a statement. “I’d like to thank my family, friends, everyone at USA Hockey, and those who supported me during the past 11 years.”

From St. Cloud, Minnesota, the former University of Minnesota star had six goals and 18 assists in 68 games for Team USA.

Capitals favored over Wild, Blackhawks on latest Stanley Cup odds

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When it comes to Stanley Cup futures, understanding the distinction between being skilled enough and strong enough is important.

At the two-thirds mark of the regular season, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are atop both the standings and the 2017 Stanley Cup futures board. The Capitals are the +550 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Goaltending likely isn’t going to be stumbling block for Washington, since goalie Braden Holtby is an all-star. However, teams built around a scoring winger such as Ovechkin often don’t get far.

Also of note, the team with the best regular-season record has won the Stanley Cup only four of 19 times in years when the NHL played an 82-game season. Only one of those instances has occurred during the salary cap era, which began in 2005-06.

The Minnesota Wild, the Western Conference leader, are listed at +700, and the time might be now to back them before their value drops. Minnesota might be better built for the playoffs than Washington with their top-two center-ice tandem of rejuvenated veteran Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu.

The Wild have one of the deepest forward groups in the league and could sail through the Central Division portion of the playoffs, given that the Chicago Blackhawks (+750) and St. Louis Blues (+3300) are underachieving.

No team has gone back-to-back during the cap era, but with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the middle, the Pittsburgh Penguins (+1000) will be heard from in the postseason. The Penguins also have a very good price at this point.

While there hasn’t been a repeat in nearly two decades, one deep playoff run does tend to begat another. Last season’s runner-up, the San Jose Sharks (+1400), could go deep again, especially with Brent Burns as their workhorse shutdown defenseman.

The Montreal Canadiens (+1400) are the highest Canadian team on the board. The Habs have regressed since they won 13 of their first 15 games this season. They rate a strong chance of advancing out of the Atlantic Division, where the second- and third-place teams consist of the overachieving, goalie-dependent Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have extraordinary young talent with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner but are probably too inexperienced to go deep this season.

Three of the last eight champions, including the 2016 Penguins, made a coaching change during the season. That means the way-off-the-board pick would be the Boston Bruins (+4000). Boston fired coach Claude Julien this week and replaced him with Bruce Cassidy. Their chances of making the playoffs were trending upward at the time of the coaching change and all-star goalie Tuukka Rask can be a difference-maker.