Morning Skate 2/1


 RLD Hockey is an NHL blog of mine where we take a look at the hot topics around the league on a daily basis. One of our staples is the 'Morning Skate', where I rundown everything going on in the NHL, including predictions on the big games. The PensBlog has been nice enough to let me share the Morning Skate with you .  You can follow us on Twitter @RLDhockey!


Tonight’s Slate:
Bruins @ Hurricanes, 7:00 ET
Senators @ Devils, 7:00
Panthers @ Maple Leafs, 7:00
Islanders @ Thrashers, 7:00
Blackhawks @ Blue Jackets, 7:00
Penguins @ Rangers, 7:30
Flyers @ Lightning, 7:30
Canadiens @ Capitals, 7:30
Avalanche @ Blues, 8:00
Flames @ Predators, 8:00
Kings @ Wild, 8:00
Canucks @ Stars, 8:30
Coyotes @ Sharks, 10:00

Games of the Night:

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers
7:30 ET… TV: VERSUS, Local Networks

Overall: Penguins (31-15-4) … Rangers (29-20-3)
Last Ten: Penguins (6-3-1) … Rangers (5-5-0)
Away/Home: Penguins (14-6-3) … Rangers (12-11-2)
Season Series: 2-1 Rangers

Players to watch:
PIT- Jordan Staal
Staal has seven points in the last six games.
NYR- Ryan Callahan
The two-way forward is set to make his return from a broken hand.

Projected Goaltenders:
PIT- Marc-Andre Fleury (2010/11 stats: 23-11-2, 2.19 GAA)
NYR- Henrik Lundqvist (2010/11 stats: 21-16-3, 2.29 GAA)

Injury Report:
PIT- Sidney Crosby (concussion, out), Evgeni Malkin (knee, out), Mike Comrie (hip, out)
NYR- Brandon Dubinsky (leg, out), Dan Girardi (ribs, questionable), Alex Frolov and Erik Christensen (knee, out), Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder, out), Derek Boogaard (concussion, out)

Game Thoughts:
The Pens and Rangers have had some good battles this year, and I wouldn’t expect it to be different tonight. Both teams are on the mend as the Rangers are getting some bodies back; Crosby and Malkin are inching closer for Pittsburgh. New York has taken two of three, but the road team has won every meeting. It’s a big game at MSG, and I like Pittsburgh here…
Prediction: Penguins 3, Rangers 2

Philadelphia Flyers @ Tampa Bay Lightning
7:30 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Flyers (33-12-5) … Lightning (31-15-5)
Last Ten: Flyers (8-2-0) … Lightning (7-3-0)
Away/Home: Flyers (17-5-3) … Lightning (16-4-2)
Season Series: 2-0 Lightning

Players to watch:
PHI- Danny Briere
Briere had 16 points in 12 January games.
TB- Steven Stamkos
In two games against Philly, Stammer has four goals and five points.

Projected Goaltenders:
PHI- Sergei Bobrovsky (2010/11 stats: 21-6-3, 2.42 GAA)
TB- Dwayne Roloson (2010/11 stats: 13-16-1, 2.52 GAA)

Injury Report:
PHI- James van Riemsdyk (groin, questionable)
TB- Ryan Malone (undisclosed, questionable)

Game Thoughts:
The Lightning will continue their epic 12-game home-stand tonight as they welcome in the conference-leading Flyers. It will be a good test for Guy Boucher’s crew, who has already beaten the Flyers twice on the road this year. Look for Philadelphia, one of the league’s best road clubs, to get a little revenge on the Bolts. Should be a good one!
Prediction: Flyers 4, Lightning 3

Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars
8:30 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Canucks (31-10-9) … Stars (30-15-5)
Last Ten: Canucks (4-2-4) … Stars (7-2-1)
Away/Home: Canucks (17-3-5) … Stars (16-6-4)
Season Series: 2-0 Canucks

Players to watch:
VAN- Christian Ehrhoff
With Edler shelved, Ehrhoff will need to step it up starting tonight.
DAL- Brad Richards
The consistent Richards had 15 points in 11 January games.

Projected Goaltenders:
VAN- Cory Schneider (2010/11 stats: 8-2-2, 2.35 GAA)
DAL- Kari Lehtonen (2010/11 stats: 22-11-5, 2.57 GAA)

Injury Report:
VAN- Alex Edler (back, out), Andrew Alberts and Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder, out), Sami Salo (Achilles, out), Aaron Rome (knee, out), Guillaume Desbiens (hand, out)
DAL- Jamie Benn (undisclosed, doubtful), Tom Wandell and Jeff Woywitka (shoulder, questionable), Toby Petersen (lower body, out)

Game Thoughts:
Just last week, the Canucks thrashed Dallas 7-1 on home-ice; they also won 4-1 in Big D earlier this year. Don’t you think Marc Crawford’s gang will have those losses in the back of their minds? Me too. The Stars will look to get off to a good post-break start after a rocky week prior to the festivities in Raleigh. I expect this to be a close game, with Dallas finally solving Vancouver.
Prediction: Stars 3, Canucks 2 (OT)

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Hurricanes over Bruins
Devils over Senators
Panthers over Maple Leafs
Thrashers over Islanders
Blackhawks over Blue Jackets
Capitals over Canadiens
Blues over Avalanche
Predators over Flames
Kings over Wild
Sharks over Coyotes

Morning Links:
SI… Michael Farber with a great piece on the amazing All-Star Game response from Raleigh.
Sporting News… Craig Custance also chimes in on the great show that Raleigh put on this weekend.
Pro Hockey Talk… Anze Kopitar’s All-Star experience is profiled.
Nashville City Paper… Cleared to practice, Jordin Tootoo is now setting his sights on getting back in game-shape.
Icethetics… The Lightning have made some bold changes in their uniform scheme for next year. What is wrong with what they have now??

  Video of the Day: