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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.”

 

Penguins home favorites against Blackhawks in marquee Wednesday contest

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With neither team trending upward of late, bettors might want to stick to playing the total when the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins face off on Wednesday.

Although Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh are on a three-game losing skid, the Penguins are -125 moneyline favorites against the +105 underdog Blackhawks with a total of six for Wednesday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Penguins are 7-3 in their last 10 games as a home favorite, but have dropped their last two at home. The Blackhawks, led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, are 8-2 in their last 10 games as a road underdog but have dropped three of four overall.

One strong trend: Each of these teams is capable of getting into a trading-chances game that can resemble a track meet on ice. The total has gone over seven of the last eight games where Chicago was an underdog on the road. The total has gone over eight of the last nine games where Pittsburgh was favored at home.

The Blackhawks are 48-21-7 on the season, including a 6-4 mark across their last 10 games. Although neither veteran practiced, both defenseman Duncan Keith and right winger Marian Hossa are expected to be in the lineup. Kane has been relatively productive recently with three goals and five points in the last five games, even though he and left winger Artemi Panarin are adapting to having rookie center Tanner Kero between them with Artem Anisimov out of the lineup.

Corey Crawford will get the start for the Blackhawks. Crawford has a 2.50 goals-against average and .923 save percentage so far this month.

The Penguins are 46-18-11, but only 5-5 across their last 10 games. While Crosby is having a MVP-caliber season with 42 goals, a plethora of injuries has caught up to Pittsburgh of late. Star center Evgeni Malkin seems unlikely to play after not practicing on Tuesday.  Defensively, Pittsburgh is minus Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey, Kris Letang and Olli Maatta. Typically, they generate enough offensive zone time and scoring chances to keep the depleted blueline from being a problem.

Crosby should have a boost from having left winger Conor Sheary (lower body) rejoin the lineup on Wednesday. Their linemate Jake Guentzel (concussion) is unlikely to play for at least a week. Penguins right winger Phil Kessel is mired in a March slump with one goal in 14 games this month.

Marc-Andre Fleury started the last time Pittsburgh played Chicago, on March 1. Matt Murray gets the bulk of the work for the Penguins, who are 7-3 in their last 10 home games in March.

The total has gone over in six of the Penguins’ last seven home games against Central Division teams, with one push, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.