Red Wings, Habs hope for scoring boost at home (By


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Dec 2, 2008

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Red Wings, Habs hope for scoring boost at home

The Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings haven't been playing at their customary high level lately. Could their respective hometown crowds get them back on the right track on Thursday night?
Philadelphia Flyers (1.98) at Montreal Canadiens (1.81) (Money line inc. OT)
The Philadelphia Flyers have an extended homestand to thank for their current hot streak. The Flyers have reeled off five straight wins, with four of those coming in the cozy confines of the Wachovia Center. However, Philly hits the road for eight of its next 10 games including Thursday's tilt in Montreal.
The Flyers are filling the net during this current stretch, scoring 4.6 goals per game. They will be counting on that increased production to help make up for a missing goaltender Martin Biron, who sat out Tuesday's game with the flu and will likely sit Thursday as well.
Montreal is also missing their star goaltender. Sophomore Carey Price was hopeful for a return against Philadelphia but is now scheduled to return after the holidays. The Habs have lost three of the last four without Price between the pipes.
Backup Jaroslav Halak has performed well, giving up just over two goals in those starts. But it's the lack of goal support that is spoiling his efforts. Montreal has scored just four goals in those three losses.
San Jose Sharks (2.10) at Detroit Red Wings (1.70) (Money line inc. OT)
The San Jose Sharks suffered just their second loss in the past 14 games on Wednesday night, falling by a 2-1 score in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Their NHL-best offense is running thin over the past six games. San Jose has scored 2.6 goals per game during this stretch, almost a goal less than its season average.
Wednesday's loss could have been a look-ahead situation with the Red Wings waiting. Or it could have something to do with the laundry list of injuries piling up. The Sharks are missing Jonathan Cheechoo, Jeremy Roenick and Joe Pavelski.
Detroit isn't playing up to its standards heading into this massive showdown. The Red Wings have lost two of the last three games including a 3-2 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday. They've also failed to score very many goals in those losses.
Coach Mike Babcock mixed up his lines in the final period of Monday's game, moving Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa to the same line. The change worked, producing a late goal and Detroit is hoping it will continue Thursday.

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