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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks NHL Playoff Odds, Start Time

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The NHL Playoffs begin tonight with the opening game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Ducks. The game is scheduled for a 10:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. Currently the odds for the game have the Ducks as a slight home favorite tonight.

Detroit didn't have the best season. In fact, they didn't even have a decent season by their standards. Yet, the Red Wing gritted out the last week of the season and found a way to get into the team's 22nd straight NHL Playoffs — the longest active streak by any American professional sports team. They have guys with serious playoff experience in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk leading the way.

Anaheim won 30 of the team's games this season, which was shortened by the lockout. They finished with a record of 16-7-1 in games at home this season, which is very solid. Detroit's not a bad road team and did fairly well away from Joe Louis Arena this season, going 11-9-4.

These franchises are meeting in the playoffs for the sixth time in 16 years. The Ducks beat Detroit along the way to both of the club's two Stanley Cup finals appearances in 2003 and 2007, but the Red Wings won the most recent meeting, knocking off the Ducks in 2009.

Anaheim made the playoffs for the first time in three years this season and they finished with the second best record in the Western Conference. They have serious Stanley Cup aspirations this season but the Red Wings believe they can actually win this series. Tonight's game will obviously be an important one for both clubs.

Jimmy Howard just signed a big extension with the Red Wings and he is the key for Detroit. Howard has played very well this season overall with five shutouts and a goals against average of 2.13 for the year. Ryan Getzlaf, who led the Ducks in scoring and points this season, will be looking to lead the team to getting Howard rattled tonight.

Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth had nearly identical numbers for the Ducks during the regular season. But when you have two goalies that you play do you really have a No. 1? Hiller probably fits that bill for the Ducks, but neither has been identified as the starter for tonight's game. That makes us like the Wings.

Free Pick: Red Wings 3, Ducks 2

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  • Journalist living in West Michigan. Inaugural "Who's The Man" contest winner at Pregame.com.

Journalist living in West Michigan. Inaugural "Who's The Man" contest winner at Pregame.com.

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