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Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks Free Game 1 Pick | NHL Preview

Red Wings vs Ducks NHL Spread/Handicapping

The Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks begin their first round playoff series Tuesday night having taken completely different paths to the postseason. For the Ducks, they cruised into the playoffs looking average the last couple weeks of the season.

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#7 Detroit Red Wings (24-16-3-5) at #2 Anaheim Ducks (30-12-3-3)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Broadcast: TSN, NBCSN, FS-D
Wings vs. Ducks Betting Lines from betonline.com
Detroit Red Wings +1½ -240 +139 Ov 5 +100
Anaheim Ducks -1½ +200 -153 Un 5 -110

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Red Wings Look to Erase Unflattering Regular Season – Begin Playoff Run in Anaheim

Detroit scratched and clawed their way into the playoffs and looked great in winning their final four games of the regular season by a combined score of 15-3 to secure the #7 seed in the Western Conference. The Detroit Red Wings won two of three regular-season meetings, including a two-game sweep of back-to-back games in Anaheim in late March.

A lot has been made about Detroit’s youth and lack of playoff experience – this team had to go through a hiccup after losing two franchise guys to retirement in the offseason. Names like Damien Brunner, Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, and Brendan Smith have replaced Nik Lidstrom and Thomas Holmstrom – big shoes to fill. With little to lose, these players produced like veterans down the stretch and gave the Wings some unforeseen depth allowing Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen to do their thing for this team.

Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg finished the regular season with four straight multi-point games, totaling two goals and eight assists, Johan Franzen had five points in his last four games, Jonathan Eriksson and Nik Kronwall each had three points in their last four games and Justin Abdelkader pitched in two points in his final two games. Detroit can throw three solid lines at you at the moment – something that nobody could say earlier this season.

Detroit has really benefitted from Jimmy Howard’s play as of late. Howard has been great with a 1.44 GAA and .942 save percentage in 13 April starts and is 4-0-0 in his last four with a superb 0.75 GAA and .696 save percentage over that span. We all saw what a hot goaltender and an offense peaking at the right time means to a team – just ask the 2012-2013 LA Kings! [ad-4437448]

The Anaheim Ducks didn’t really impress down the stretch opting to rest some players for a long playoff run. They went 4-4-1 to start April before winning three of their final four.

Names like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne and Sakku Koivu certainly give the Ducks the experience and the talent to be favored in this battle but sickness, injury and rest kept them from being at their best down the stretch. Getzlaf closed the regular season with points in three straight and seven of his final nine and is the hottest of the Ducks coming into Game 1.

The Ducks haven’t announced the starting goaltender for Tuesday but both Jonas Hiller and Victor Fast were equally good this season when called upon. Hiller was 2-0-0 in his last two starts with a 1.00 GAA and .965 save percentage and may be the hotter of the two. Both goalies won 15 games apiece, with nearly identical statistics and playing time.

Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:
• Under is 17-5-4 in DET last 26 vs. Pacific.
• DET are 2-6 in their last 8 Tue. games.
• Under is 18-7-4 in DET last 29 overall.
• Under is 7-1 in ANA last 8 Tue. games.
• Under is 12-3-1 in ANA last 16 overall.
• ANA are 3-7 in their last 10 home games.
• Under is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings in Anaheim.
• DET are 8-3 in the last 11 meetings.

The Detroit Red Wings have matched up very well with the Ducks the past couple of seasons winning 8 of the last 11 meetings and there is no question about who enters the playoffs in better form. The Wings have won four straight and they won their two meetings in Anaheim this year. I see the trend continuing – Jimmy Howard is scorching and we all know the importance of goaltending in the playoffs! Take the road team to post the minor Game 1 upset.

Pick: Detroit Red Wings +139


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