The Morning Skate: 2/10


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:

Bruins 8, Canadiens 6
Sharks 3, Blue Jackets 2
Predators 4, Red Wings 1
Wild 3, Avalanche 2
Coyotes 3, Stars 2 (OT)
Flames 5, Senators 2
Blackhawks 4, Oilers 1
Ducks 4, Canucks 3
Predictions record: 6-2

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Nathan Horton, BOS (1 Goal, 4 Assists)… Horton’s five points were one of many contributions in the Bruins’ wild win over Montreal.
2. Bobby Ryan, ANA (2 Goals)
3. Antti Niemi, SJ (42 Saves, 2 GA)
Close but no cigar: M. Lucic and M. Ryder, BOS; A. Babchuk, CGY; S. Kostitsyn and P. Rinne, NSH; P. Marleau, SJ; P. Kane, CHI

Tonight’s Slate:
Devils @ Maple Leafs, 7:00 ET
Hurricanes @ Flyers, 7:00
Kings @ Penguins, 7:00
Islanders @ Canadiens, 7:30
Sabres @ Panthers, 7:30

Games of the Night:
Carolina Hurricanes @ Philadelphia Flyers
7:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Hurricanes (26-21-7) … Flyers (35-13-5)
Last Ten: Hurricanes (4-5-1) … Flyers (8-2-0)
Away/Home: Hurricanes (12-12-5) … Flyers (18-7-2)
Season Series: 2-0 Flyers

Players to watch:
CAR- Eric Staal
Going up against the East’s best, Staal needs to be at the top of his game tonight.
PHI- Danny Briere
The All-Star has cooled off a bit, but had three points in their last meeting.

Projected Goaltenders:
CAR- Cam Ward (2010/11 stats: 23-17-6, 2.72 GAA)
PHI- Sergei Bobrovsky (2010/11 stats: 22-7-3, 2.48 GAA)

Injury Report:
CAR- Joni Pitkanen (lower body, doubtful), Jussi Jokinen (lower body, out)
PHI- Ian Laperriere (head, out)

Game Thoughts:
If the playoffs started today, these two would square off in the 1 vs. 8 matchup. Carolina has struggled with consistency over the last few weeks, while Philadelphia is turning it on and looking to break away from the pack in the East. In this one, if the ‘Canes have to get off to a good start. But given their recent history against the Flyers, I like Peter Laviolette’s gang tonight.
Prediction: Flyers 4, Hurricanes 2

Los Angeles Kings @ Pittsburgh Penguins
7:00 ET… TV: NHL Net. (US), Local Networks

Overall: Kings (29-22-2) … Penguins (34-17-4)
Last Ten: Kings (6-3-1) … Penguins (7-3-0)
Away/Home: Kings (12-13-1) … Penguins (19-10-1)
Season Series (09/10): 1-0 Kings

Players to watch:
LA- Justin Williams
Williams has quietly put together a solid year, and is coming off a three-point performance.
PIT- Tyler Kennedy
Kennedy has scored three goals in the last four games, including twice on the power play.

Projected Goaltenders:
LA- Jonathan Quick (2010/11 stats: 24-14-1, 2.14 GAA)
PIT- Marc-Andre Fleury (2010/11 stats: 25-13-2, 2.24 GAA)

Injury Report:
LA- Marco Sturm (knee, out), Scott Parse (hip, out)
PIT- Sidney Crosby (concussion, out), Evgeni Malkin and Mark Letestu (knee, out), Chris Kunitz (lower body, out), Arron Asham (upper body, doubtful), Mike Comrie (hip, out)

Game Thoughts:
Los Angeles makes a rare trip to the Steel City for an intriguing battle with the injury-stricken Penguins. The last time L.A. won in Pittsburgh was Oct. 10, 2003. This is the fourth game of their 10-game road trip, in which they’re currently 2-0-1. Pittsburgh has dropped two in a row since the bad news surrounding Malkin. I think the Kings gut out another overtime win in this one.
Prediction: Kings 3, Penguins 2 (OT)

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Devils over Maple Leafs
Canadiens over Islanders
Sabres over Panthers

Morning Links:
ESPN… Pierre LeBrun on the red-hot Sharks, who have suddenly won nine of ten.
CSN Boston… Joe Haggerty’s recap of the wild affair between Boston and Montreal last night.
Puck Daddy… P.K. Subban and Hal Gill got into an exchange on Tuesday.
Pro Hockey Talk… Joe Yerdon’s take on Matt Cooke’s hit on Tuesday.
Atlanta Journal Constitution… Despite rumors, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay is pleased with Zach Bogosian.
Pension Plan Puppets… A look at yesterday’s Ducks/Leafs trade from Toronto’s perspective.

Video of the Day: