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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.”

 

Bruins seek Bounce-Back Effort hosting Canadiens as betting favorites

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The Boston Bruins haven’t lost two games in a row in a fair chunk of the time and are also conscientious about getting the win in the first leg of back-to-back games.

The Bruins are a -200 moneyline favorite and the rival Montreal Canadiens are a +165 road underdog with a 5.5-goal total in their matchup on Wednesday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Bruins, who are amid a busy stretch where they will also play the New York Islanders on Thursday, are also 7-3 in their last 10 games when they were also slated to play the next day. Seven of those 10 contests went over the total, with one push.

This is also the second of three games between the Original Six rivals in an eight-day stretch. Boston won at Montreal on January 13, and the teams will also play on Saturday.

The Canadiens are struggling with an 18-20-6 overall record that includes an away mark of 7-12-1, and a 4-7 record since star D Shea Weber (foot) was placed on injured reserve. There are some signs of life, though, as they are undefeated in regulation over their last four games, while LW Max Pacioretty and RW Alex Galchenyuk have shown strong form recently.

Montreal’s biggest issue has been down the middle, where undersized Paul Byron, Tomas Plekanec and Jacob de la Rose were the top centers at practice on Tuesday.

Montreal, which will need a strong game out of G Carey Price, is 6-1 in its last seven road games against Boston, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, but such trends are hard to sustain in the NHL. The Canadiens also haven’t made fools of the sharps, showing just a 3-11 record in their last 14 games as a moneyline underdog of +150 or higher

The Bruins are 24-10-8 on the season, including 14-5-4 at home and 7-3 in their last 10 games overall. The Bruins, who have scored at least five goals in each of the past three games that were the front end of back-to-backs, offer two solid scoring lines with the Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand-David Pastrnak and David Krejci-Jake DeBrusk-Ryan Spooner units.

Given their overall production in the last month, one would think that a team which lost 3-2 in overtime against the Dallas Stars on Monday – after being ahead early in the game – should come up with a focused performance.

Interestingly, Boston has not been a big success when it is deep into minus money, as it’s just 6-4 in its last 10 games as a moneyline favorite or -160 or lower.

The total has gone under in four of Montreal’s last five games as a moneyline underdog of +150 or more, with one push. The total has gone under in seven of Montreal’s last 10 road games against Atlantic Division teams. However, the total has gone over in seven of Boston’s last 10 games when it was in the front leg of a back-to-back, with one push.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Rangers Solid Favorites Hosting Blackhawks on Wednesday

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While it will be tough for the New York Rangers to keep winning at home at their current rate, they are catching a sagging Chicago Blackhawks team on Wednesday.

The Rangers are -150 home-ice betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with the Blackhawks coming back at +120 in a matchup that takes place on Wednesday night. The total is 5.5. The Rangers, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, are 12-3 in their last 15 games as a home favorite. In contrast, the Blackhawks are 2-6 in their last eight road games as the underdog and have also lost four of their last five games.

Chicago is 18-14-6 overall this season, including an 8-9-4 mark away from home, but the Blackhawks have scored only seven goals in their last five games. Star forward Patrick Kane is scoring at a point-per-game pace. However, other key attackers such as as Jonathan Toews (one goal in six games) and Brandon Saad (one in seven) are struggling, and the Rangers’ defense is in the top 10 of the 31-team NHL.

Bettors probably shouldn’t put great stock in Chicago being 5-1 in its last six games after a two-day break, since their previous game on Sunday was two time zones away in Calgary.

The Blackhawks are just 2-10 in their last 12 road games against teams with a point percentage above .600 (The Rangers’ is .603). Neither of their available goalies, Jeff Glass and Anton Forsberg, has ever started a game against the Rangers.

New York is 21-13-5 overall, including a 15-6-3 record at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers, in hockey parlance, have been playing “hit the logo” lately, having scored only eight goals in their last four games despite averaging 37.5 shots in those games.

The total has gone over in five of the Rangers’ last seven home games against Western Conference teams, and a road-weary opponent without its top goalie seems conducive for team scoring leaders such as Pavel Buchnevich (six games without a goal) and Mats Zuccarello (five) to break out.

Two of the Rangers’ other scoring threats, Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller, scored goals during New York’s most recent outing, a 3-2 overtime win outdoors in the Winter Classic against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

Should the Rangers give the starting nod to veteran goalie Henrik Lundqvist, know that he is 6-3-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .921 save percentage lifetime against Chicago.

The total has gone over in the Blackhawks’ last three road games. The total has gone over in seven of the Rangers’ last 10 home games against Central Division teams.