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Wild look to continue positive trends against rival Blackhawks on Wednesday

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The Minnesota Wild will try to repeat their feat of beating the Chicago Blackhawks while playing back-to-back when the Central Division rivals meet in St. Paul on Wednesday night.

The Western Conference-leading Wild are expected to be listed as home betting favorites by puck drop against the Blackhawks at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

While Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks wear the braid of having won the Stanley Cup three times in the last seven seasons, Minnesota is 8-0 straight-up in the teams’ last eight regular-season meetings, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Chicago, which is in the midst of a six-game road stretch, is 6-2 in divisional road games this season. The Wild are an identical 6-2 in divisional home games.

Minnesota had a road game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. The Wild are 3-2 this season when they played the previous day, including a victory against the Blackhawks on January 15.

Chicago is 32-17-5 this season, but has wobbled of late with a 5-5 record in their past 10 games. While goaltender Corey Crawford was an all-star selection this season, he has been somewhat off his game recently, allowing at least three goals in four of his last six starts.

The Blackhawks have long had some of the best forward depth in the league, but they have struggled this season to get production out of the lines that don’t include Kane or Jonathan Toews.

Minnesota is 35-12-5, good for the top spot in the Western Conference, and is 7-3 in its last 10 games. The Wild proved they are for real with a 9-2-1 record in January and have a diverse attack with the likes of Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville.

All-star goaltender Devan Dubnyk, like his counterpart Crawford, has had some midseason regression, allowing three or more goals in five of his last eight starts. Dubnyk did have an excellent 38-save effort against Winnipeg on Tuesday, and got the win the only time this season that he started a game after also starting the previous day.

The total has gone under in only two of the Blackhawks’ last eight games as a road underdog. The total has gone over in seven of Chicago’s last 10 games, including four of their six most recent road games. The total has gone over in eight of Minnesota’s last 10 games, with one push.

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Tight betting lines at sportsbooks for Tuesday’s matchups

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The Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers have their tightest moneyline in nearly two full seasons going into Game 4 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series on Tuesday night.

Game 4 of the series is a toss-up with the Canadiens and Rangers each listed at -115 on the moneyline with a total of five goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. It’s the closest the two “Original Six” clubs have been in pregame odds since a game early last season. Montreal has had the Rangers’ number, going 8-2 in the teams’ last 10 matchups.

The Canadiens, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, are excelling at limiting the Rangers’ team speed and easing the burden on franchise goalie Carey Price. Montreal’s forwards, including Alexander Radulov, are doing a good job of generating offense but have been largely stifled by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist so far in the series.

The Rangers, who are just 2-8 in their last 10 home games, have yet to receive a goal in the series from either Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller or Derek Stepan, three of their top four scorers during the regular season.

The total has gone UNDER in six of Montreal’s last 10 road playoff games. The total has  gone UNDER in seven of Montreal’s last 10 road games against Metropolitan Division teams. The total has also gone UNDER in seven of the Rangers’ last 10 home games against Atlantic Division teams.

Despite being on the brink of elimination, the host Columbus Blue Jackets (-115) still rate a good chance of defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Game 4 matchup on Tuesday night. The Penguins and Sidney Crosby have had a proclivity for starting slowly, but are 6-4 in their last 10 divisional road games and sit on the verge of a sweep in the first round.

Columbus is an identical 6-4 in its last 10 home games against the Penguins and has shown it can compete with Pittsburgh, but still, it has to recover from a deflating Game 3 loss and adapt to losing defenseman Zach Werenski (facial injuries).

The total has gone OVER in seven of the Penguins’ last 10 road games against Columbus. The total has also gone OVER in eight of the Blue Jackets’ last 10 home games in April.

And with Joe Thornton back, the San Jose Sharks (-120) are favored against the Edmonton Oilers for their Game 4 matchup on Tuesday night, trailing 2-1 in the first-round series.

Connor McDavid, goalie Cam Talbot and the Oilers, who took the series lead with a 1-0 road win on Sunday, are 7-3 in their last 10 road games against Pacific Division teams. San Jose and captain Joe Pavelski are unlikely to be shut out for a third consecutive game, but they are an uninspiring 5-5 in their last 10 home games at HP Pavilion.

The total has gone UNDER in seven of the Sharks’ last 10 divisional home games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

US routs Germany 11-0, sets up matchup with Canada for gold

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PLYMOUTH, Mich. (AP) The U.S. relentlessly dominated Germany, scoring soon after the puck dropped and refusing to relent until the final horn sounded.

Hilary Knight scored 1:06 into the game and Kelli Stack added a goal midway through the first period to give the Americans a cushion that they weren’t content with in an 11-0 victory over the Germans on Thursday night in the women’s hockey world championship semifinals.

“We didn’t want to play down to their pace,” said Kendall Coyne, who scored two of her team’s five goals in the second period. “We want to play up to our pace.”

The Americans will face Canada for gold on Friday night. They’re shooting to win a fourth straight world championship final against the rival Canadians, who beat them in the 2014 Olympics.

“There’s no love lost on the ice,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said. “It gets heated.”

Without needing to break a sweat, Nicole Hensley stopped eight shots for the U.S. for a shutout.

The Germans will face Finland in the bronze-medal game Friday, aiming for their first medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation world championship.

“We’re super motivated,” German goaltender Jennifer Harss said. “We’re super excited. We can’t wait.”

The Finns have won 11 bronze in 17 the women’s world championships.

Harss made a pair of spectacular stops that made the crowd gasp in the first period and kept her team within two goals in the opening period. She was replaced after giving up a seventh goal in the second period and was replaced by Ivonne Schroder, who fared only slightly better in the lopsided laugher.

The Americans didn’t let up in the second, scoring five times in the first 6-plus minutes of the period to take a 7-0 lead that left only the final score in doubt, or until the final horn sounded.

Canada and the U.S. have met in every world championship since the event’s inception in 1990, and the Americans have won six of the last seven.

IIHF President Rene Fasel said it might take another 10 or 15 years for the rest of the world to catch up with the Americans and Canadians.

“The gap is still very big,” Fasel acknowledged before the tournament.

Finland coach Pasi Mustonen doesn’t expect anyone to slow down the U.S.

“The Americans on defense are from another planet they’re so good,” Mustonen said. “They’ve been the best team – by far – in the tournament. Canada can score and has a good goalie, too, but defensively it’s not even close. The Americans are much, much better than everyone else.”

The U.S., just after winning an off-ice fight with USA Hockey for better wages, opened the tournament last week with a 2-0 win over the Canadians and followed that up with a 7-0 rout of Russia and a 5-3 victory against Finland.

The Americans were even more dominant against the Germans, who beat Russia to earn a spot in the semifinals.

Coyne scored on a power play early in the breakout period that turned a 2-0 game into a 7-0 rout. Coyne, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Megan Keller added goals in even-strength situations that were so lopsided it looked as if the U.S. had an extra skater on the ice as it maintained the puck easily and found open space to shoot.

Germany had just five shots entering the third, missing a chance to add a shot and goal in the final seconds of the second period when Kerstin Spielberger failed to control the puck in front of a wide-open net.

The Germans had a power play early in the third, but the Americans possessed the puck for much of the 2-minute stretch. Shortly after killing the penalty, Amanda Pelkey scored off a rebound and later in the period. Stack scored again and Haley Skarupa made it a double-digit game in the third.

Refusing to be satisfied, Alex Carpenter scored with 13.3 seconds left to make it 11-0.

“We’ve had a great tournament so far. Obviously, it’s not done,” Duggan said. “If we play the way we can play, it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side.”