What bettors need to know: Tuesday's NHL action
New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers (-140, 5.5)THE STORY:
The Philadelphia Flyers face elimination in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night - and they'll have to make do without their top player. Forward Claude Giroux was given a one-game suspension for hitting Devils forward Dainius Zubrus in the head during second-period action in Game 4. Giroux has been far and away the best player in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and his absence will make an already difficult task even more daunting.TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS, CBCABOUT THE DEVILS:
If there is any solace for the Flyers, it may have been provided by their opponents. The Devils had to do without Ilya Kovalchuk, their regular-season scoring leader, for Game 2 of the best-of-seven series. With Kovalchuk on the sidelines with a lower-body injury, the Devils struck for four goals in the third period of a 4-1 victory that evened the series and kickstarted a three-game winning streak. New Jersey hasn't been to the conference finals since 2003, but isn't making any plans yet. "There's still a long ways to go," said captain Zach Parise. "It's a very good team over there and we gotta get that fourth one."ABOUT THE FLYERS:
Giroux met with the league to state his case, but his argument wasn't persuasive enough to prevent the one-game ban. "That's not the kind of player I am," he told reporters shortly after the suspension was announced Monday afternoon. "I think it's the first time I hit someone in the head. I was just trying to finish my hit there, and we were just talking about that." His removal from the lineup will put more pressure on the rest of the Flyers' forwards - led by Scott Hartnell, who has two goals and an assist against the Devils but has been a minus in every game so far.TRENDS:
- The Devils are 4-10 in the last 14 meetings in Philadelphia.
- The Flyers are 2-5 in their last seven overall.
- The over is 7-2 in Flyers last nine games as a favorite.OVERTIME:
1. Philadelphia lost three straight games just once during the regular season, dropping consecutive outings to New Jersey, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders from Feb. 4-7.
2. Giroux leads all playoff scorers with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 10 games.