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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.

 

Bruins Solid Betting Favorites at Red Wings for Wednesday Night

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The Boston Bruins have had the Detroit Red Wings’ number recently, but there is a case for jumping on Detroit as a value pick that has improving puck luck on the way.

The Bruins are a -145 road betting favorite with the Red Wings coming back at +125, while the total is 5.5 goals in this matchup that takes place on Wednesday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Boston is 8-1-1 (with six wins in regulation time) over its last 10 games against its Atlantic Division rival Detroit, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Detroit also comes in scuffling with a 1-5-4 record across its last 10 games.

The Bruins had a slow start, but have corrected course and are 14-9-4 overall, including an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games as well as a respectable 5-5-2 road record. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy has a full lineup, including the Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand-David Pastrnak first line and a No. 2 trio of center David Krejci between wings Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork. Boston has been a productive lot, going 4-1 in its last five road games.

Goalie Tuukka Rask will start for Boston, and he has been dialed in lately with a 1.55 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. The Bruins’ strong contributions from the last line of defense – and the second-last, with rookie Charlie McAvoy combining with old pro Zdeno Chara on the first pairing – have led to four of their last five road games finishing under the posted total.

On form, the Red Wings are a shaky play at 11-13-6 overall, which includes a poor 5-6-5 home record so far in their first season at Little Caesars Arena. Leading scorer Dylan Larkin is on a 10-game goal drought, while promising RW Evgeny Svechnikov has a goose egg in the goal column over the last 12.

The Red Wings under coach Jeff Blashill have been struggling to score, managing just a single goal in five of their last eight games. They have, however, had the lion’s share of scoring chances over their last three games; as hockey types often say, everything evens out in the sport eventually.

The Red Wings’ No. 1 goalie, Jimmy Howard, has received a “mercy pull” from some recent games, but had a solid 27-save performance in a 2-1 overtime loss against the Florida Panthers on Monday.

The tea leaves probably point to a Boston victory, but bettors should keep a corner of one eye on the Red Wings as long as the young team continues to offers plus money. Six of their next seven games are against either playoff-position teams or the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, so that will likely continue for a few weeks yet.

The total has gone over in six of the last 10 games between Boston and Detroit. The total has gone over in six of the Red Wings’ last eight home games.

 

Predators favored against Penguins on betting lines for Game 4

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have an excellent track record as a bounce-back team, but they are giving off some distressing signals against the Nashville Predators going into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Predators are a -155 moneyline favorite against the +135 underdog Penguins with a 5.5-goal total for Monday’s matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Predators are 9-1 in their last 10 home playoff games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Nashville is 11-4 in its last 15 home games as a favorite of -140 to -500 on the moneyline.

Pittsburgh leads the best-of-seven series 2-1. The home team has won each of the clubs’ last six meetings.

The Penguins are 13-2 in playoff games after a loss under coach Mike Sullivan and are also 6-4 in in their last 10 playoff games as an underdog on the road. However, star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were each held without a shot on goal during Game 3, a first in their time playing together.

Pittsburgh has also counted on its power play throughout much of its playoff run, but it is only 1-for-13 with the extra skater so far against Nashville. Crosby has yet to score in the series.

Health-wise, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan might have to shuffle his forward lines if center Nick Bonino (left foot) is unable to play. Bonino is listed as doubtful, although he practiced on Sunday. Pittsburgh also needs to create more opportunities for Phil Kessel. While Jake Guentzel has a series-high four goals, those have come on only six shots on goal (hardly a sustainable shooting percentage).

Nashville, which is 13-6 in the playoffs, has been the better team in even-strength play during the course of the series. The Predators are often able to control the tempo of a game due to the defensive foursome of P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, who all have at least 10 points during the playoffs.

While some puck luck played into the 5-1 score during the Predators’ first win against Pittsburgh on Saturday, other key elements included staying out of the penalty box as well as getting an injection of speed from the creation of a line of Frederick Gaudreau, Harry Zolnierczyk and P.A. Parenteau.

Goalie Pekka Rinne (27 saves on 28 shots) also regained his usual form. If that continues, Nashville should have an excellent chance of taking another win at home and reducing the series to a best-of-three.

The total has gone over in seven of Nashville’s last 10 home games against Eastern Conference teams. The total has gone over in 11 of Nashville’s last 16 home games (playoffs and regular season) when it was a favorite of -150 to -500 on the moneyline.