The Afternoon Skate: 2/26


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!


The Morning After:
Yesterday’s scores:
Rangers 6, Capitals 0
Hurricanes 4, Penguins 1
Blue Jackets 5, Coyotes 3
Sabres 4, Senators 2
Panthers 2, Thrashers 1 (SO)
Lightning 2, Devils 1
Sharks 4, Flames 3 (SO)
Blues 5, Oilers 0
Wild 3, Ducks 2 (OT)
Predictions record: 6-3

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Matt Calvert, CBJ (3 Goals, 1 Assist)… Calvert has quietly been hot for the Jackets and picked up his first career hat trick last night.
2. Ben Bishop, STL (39 Saves, Shutout)
3. Erik Christensen, NYR (2 Goals, 2 Assists)
Close but no cigar: H. Lundqvist, NYR; T. Vokoun, FLA; J. Theodore, MIN; C. Stewart, STL; E. Cole, CAR; R. Umberger, CBJ; R. Clowe, SJ

Today’s Slate:
Predators @ Stars, 2:00 ET
Avalanche @ Kings, 4:00
Red Wings @ Sabres, 7:00
Penguins @ Maple Leafs, 7:00
Hurricanes @ Canadiens, 7:00
Flyers @ Senators, 7:00
Capitals @ Islanders, 7:00
Bruins @ Canucks, 10:00

Games of the Day:
Nashville Predators @ Dallas Stars
2:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Predators (31-22-8) … Stars (32-23-6)
Last Ten: Predators (4-5-1) … Stars (2-7-1)
Away/Home: Predators (17-15-1) … Stars (17-9-5)
Season Series: Tied 1-1

Players to watch:
NSH- Patric Hornqvist
Nashville needs more offense, and ‘Horny’ has just one goal in the last 10 games… he is due.
DAL- Alex Goligoski
Goligoski was a +3 with an assist on Thursday in his second game as a Dallas Star.

Projected Goaltenders:
NSH- Pekka Rinne (2010/11 stats: 21-17-6, 2.14 GAA)
DAL- Kari Lehtonen (2010/11 stats: 24-18-6, 2.62 GAA)

Injury Report:
NSH- Steve Sullivan (groin, out), Marcel Goc (shoulder, out), Francis Bouillon and Matthew Lombardi (concussion, out), Cal O’Reilly (leg, out)
DAL- Brad Richards (concussion, out), Nicklas Grossman (hip, doubtful)

Game Thoughts:
Knotted at 70 points apiece, the Preds and Stars faceoff in a huge matinee tilt today. Nashville has lost three straight – shut out in the last two – as injuries continue to mount. The team understands the significance of this one. Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off a crucial win in Detroit on Thursday. The Preds took the first game in Big D this season, so I’m leaning towards the Stars in what should be a tight battle.
Prediction: Stars 2, Predators 1 (SO)

Boston Bruins @ Vancouver Canucks
10:00 ET… TV: CBC, Local Networks

Overall: Bruins (34-19-7) … Canucks (39-14-9)
Last Ten: Bruins (6-4-0) … Canucks (6-4-0)
Away/Home: Bruins (19-7-4) … Canucks (22-5-5)
Season Series (09/10): 1-0 Canucks

Players to watch:
BOS- Milan Lucic
Will Lucic shine on HNIC in his hometown of Vancouver?
VAN- Mikael Samuelsson
Samuelsson has 16 points in 12 February games.

Projected Goaltenders:
BOS- Tim Thomas (2010/11 stats: 27-8-6, 1.99 GAA)
VAN- Roberto Luongo (2010/11 stats: 28-11-7, 2.27 GAA)

Injury Report:
BOS- Marc Savard (concussion, out)
VAN- Alexander Edler (back, out), Kevin Bieksa (foot, out), Andrew Alberts (wrist, out)

Game Thoughts:
Could this possibly be a Stanley Cup preview? Vancouver and Boston have been both solid and consistent, and seem poised for a deep run this spring. The Canucks are nearly unbeatable on home-ice this year, but they are facing a great road team in the Bruins tonight. An interesting note is that Tim Thomas hasn’t given up a goal to Vancouver in two career starts. It should be a great battle between he and Luongo – two Vezina contenders. I have a funny feeling the B’s win this one.
Prediction: Bruins 3, Canucks 2

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Kings over Avalanche
Red Wings over Sabres
Maple Leafs over Penguins
Hurricanes over Canadiens
Flyers over Senators
Capitals over Islanders (Lock of the night)

Morning Links:
ESPN… Pierre LeBrun with the latest trade talk surrounding the Kings and Wild.
Down Goes Brown… How a real trade call goes down in the NHL.
The Hockey News… Should the NHL get rid of divisions?
St. Louis Post Dispatch… David Perron looking at life from a different angle after his prolonged concussion.
Globe and Mail… How Joffrey Lupul got his lost phone back through Twitter.

Video of the Day: