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Crosby, Penguins road betting favorites at Flyers for Wednesday night

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Despite multiple injuries on defense, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will try to maintain their mastery of Metropolitan Division opponents when they take on the rival Philadelphia Flyers on the road on Wednesday night.

Although they are just coming back from a road trip through western Canada, the Penguins are a -150 betting favorite against the +120 underdog Flyers with a 5.5-goal total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Pittsburgh is 9-3 straight-up over its last 12 games against fellow Metropolitan clubs, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, as well as 9-4 as a road favorite in the month of March over the last five seasons.

The Penguins are 43-16-9 overall, including 7-3 across their last 10 games. Pittsburgh has managed to close the gap on the Washington Capitals for first overall in the NHL even though eight of their players – four defensemen and four forwards – are now injured. Defenseman Mark Streit (lower body) was hurt blocking a shot against the Calgary Flames on Monday, joining an injury list on the back end that includes Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley.

With Crosby and his wings Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary, and Evgeni Malkin helming a strong second scoring line, the Penguins are as gifted at puck possession as any NHL team. They will also try to take advantage of a vulnerable Flyers penalty kill that has been scored on in seven of their last 12 opportunities.

Starting goalie Matt Murray will likely get the call for the Penguins, who are 5-5 in their last 10 road games as a favorite with a -125 to -500 moneyline.

The Flyers are 31-29-8, including 4-6 in their last 10 games. The main question with the Flyers, who have lost three in a row, is how motivated a team of veterans, such as C Claude Giroux and LW Jakub Voracek, will be after those losses left them even farther adrift of the pack chasing an Eastern Conference wild card playoff berth. The power play has also been problematic, as Philadelphia has converted just two of its last 26 chances.

Michal Neuvirth might get the call in goal for the Flyers, who are 4-6 in their last 10 games as a home underdog. Steve Mason has been busy lately and was also lit up in his only appearance this season against the Penguins.

The total has gone under in seven of these teams’ last 10 meetings in Philadelphia, according to the betting trends for the matchup. The total has gone under in seven of the Penguins’ last 10 road games. The total has also gone under in eight of the Flyers’ last 10 home games, with one push.

USA Hockey, women’s players to meet Monday in Philadelphia

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USA Hockey and representatives of the women’s national team will meet Monday to discuss a wage dispute that could lead to players boycotting the upcoming world championships.

John Langel, a lawyer for the players, tells The Associated Press that they’ll meet with USA Hockey officials in Philadelphia two days before the scheduled start of training camp. Players announced Wednesday they’d boycott camp and the tournament unless significant progress is made in negotiations on what they hope is a four-year contract.

The International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship begins March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan. The U.S. is the defending champion and has won six of the past eight world championships.

USA Hockey and players traded barbs Friday over demands but agreed to meet to further discussions.

Players are seeking a deal that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. USA Hockey has said it is not in the business of employing players but is still hoping the players picked for the world championships are on the ice when it begins.

Standout forward Hilary Knight, who is expected to attend the meeting after playing in the National Women’s Hockey League final Sunday, said Friday that it was her hope that USA Hockey would “reach out to our lawyers and present something that’s worth sitting down to the table for.”

After players called numbers released by USA Hockey “patently false,” fellow star Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said, “I just think they need to come to the table and let’s talk about it.”

Players have said USA Hockey pays them nothing outside the Olympic period and $1,000 a month for the six months leading up to the Games.

Knight, Lamoureux-Davidson and twin sister Monique Lamoureux-Morando, captain Meghan Duggan, Kacey Bellamy and Kendal Coyne are scheduled to take part in the meeting on the players’ side. A USA Hockey spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for who will represent the organization at the meeting Monday.

 

Red-hot Kane, Blackhawks carry strong trends into game against Penguins

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Not only will Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks get the Pittsburgh Penguins on the second night of a back-to-back, but they also take some strong trends into their home game against the defending Stanley Cup champions on Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks are the -130 favorite against the +120 underdog Penguins with a 5.5-goal total in their NHL betting matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Blackhawks are one of the hottest teams in the NHL with a 9-1 straight-up record over their last 10 games; the OddsShark NHL Database also shows an identical 9-1 record in their last 10 home games and an 8-2 record in their last 10 home games against Eastern Conference teams.

The Penguins, who lost to the lowly Dallas Stars on Tuesday night, are 5-5 in their last 10 games where they played the previous day.

Led by the indefatigable Sidney Crosby, the Penguins are 38-15-8 this season, although a spate of injuries to several defensemen has contributed to them going 5-5 over their last 10 home games. Kris Letang (upper body) is among the defensemen out of the lineup and his absence affects the Penguins, who are 4-6 in their last 10 road games against Western Conference teams.

However, with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as their top two centers, the Penguins are almost always able to generate offense. Recently-acquired veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey is also getting more comfortable with his new team.

Chicago is 39-18-5 on the year as it tries to chase down the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Central Division. Starting goalie Corey Crawford (illness) will be held out on Wednesday night with backup Scott Darling getting the call. Chicago is 11-5 in Darling’s last 16 starts. One notable absence for the Blackhawks is that of defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), who is out until at least next week. Chicago did swing a trade on Tuesday for veteran Johnny Oduya to plug that hole.

The Blackhawks were hot in February, with Kane scoring nine goals in 10 games while captain Jonathan Toews has seven in his last 10. With fresher legs than Pittsburgh, they stand a good chance of having the run of the play.

The total has gone under in five of Pittsburgh’s last six road games on the NHL betting lines. The total has gone under eight of the last 10 games where Pittsburgh was playing the second of back-to-back games. The total has gone over in nine of Chicago’s last 10 games, as well as seven of the Blackhawks’ last nine home games.