The Morning Skate: 2/12



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:
Red Wings 6, Bruins 1
Devils 2, Sharks 1
Islanders 9, Penguins 3
Blue Jackets 3, Avalanche 1
Thrashers 3, Rangers 2
Wild 5, Blues 4 (SO)
Stars 4, Blackhawks 3 (SO)
Ducks 5, Flames 4 (OT)
Predictions record: 2-6

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Evander Kane, ATL (2 Goals, 1 Assist)… Atlanta needed two points in the worst way, and Kane delivered with the game-tying and game-winning goals in the third.
2. Teemu Selanne, ANA (1 Goal, 3 Assists)
3. Ilya Kovalchuk, NJ (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
Close but no cigar: J. Tavares and M. Grabner, NYI; H. Zetterberg and J. Hudler, DET; S. Koivu, ANA; C. Clutterbuck, MIN; R. Nash, CBJ; P. Kane, CHI

Today’s Slate:
Kings @ Capitals, 12:30 ET
Senators @ Oilers, 2:00
Maple Leafs @ Canadiens, 7:00
Hurricanes @ Lightning, 7:30
Avalanche @ Predators, 8:00
Blackhawks @ Coyotes, 8:00
Blues @ Wild, 9:00
Flames @ Canucks, 10:00

Games of the Day (Hockey Day in Canada):
Ottawa Senators @ Edmonton Oilers
2:00 ET… TV: CBC

Overall: Senators (17-30-8) … Oilers (16-30-8)
Last Ten: Senators (0-8-2) … Oilers (2-7-1)
Away/Home: Senators (8-15-4) … Oilers (7-15-4)
Season Series: 1-0 Oilers

Players to watch:
OTT- Jason Spezza
Spezza is currently their biggest offensive ‘threat’.
EDM- Jordan Eberle
Eberle has five points in the four games since returning from injury.

Projected Goaltenders:
OTT- Brian Elliott (2010/11 stats: 12-19-7, 3.21 GAA)
EDM- Nikolai Khabibulin (2010/11 stats: 8-24-2, 3.46 GAA)

Injury Report:
OTT- Daniel Alfredsson (back, out), Pascal Leclaire (lower body, out), Jesse Winchester (knee, doubtful)
EDM- Ryan Whitney and Gilbert Brule (ankle, out)

Game Thoughts:
Could this game play a factor into the top-pick sweepstakes for next summer? The Sens are the worst road team in the NHL; same goes for the Oilers on home-ice. Cory Clouston’s club has lost 17 of 18, while Khabibulin has not won a game since Dec. 16 (0-13-0 in that span). I think Ottawa wins this matinee tilt titanic struggle…
Prediction: Senators 3, Oilers 1

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens
7:00 ET… TV: CBC, NHL Net. (US)

Overall: Maple Leafs (23-26-6) … Canadiens (30-20-6)
Last Ten: Maple Leafs (5-4-1) … Canadiens (4-3-3)
Away/Home: Maple Leafs (10-15-1) … Canadiens (18-7-5)
Season Series: 2-1 Maple Leafs

Players to watch:
TOR- Joffrey Lupul
Will the new Leaf make his mark in his first game in this rivalry?
MTL- Max Pacioretty
The 22-year-old Pacioretty has 10 points in the last nine games.

Projected Goaltenders:
TOR- James Reimer (2010/11 stats: 6-4-1, 2.39 GAA)
MTL- Carey Price (2010/11 stats: 26-18-5, 2.43 GAA)

Injury Report:
TOR- Colby Armstrong (vision, out), Mike Brown (upper body, out), Colton Orr (concussion, out)
MTL- Hal Gill (upper body, doubtful), Michael Cammalleri (shoulder, doubtful), Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges (knee, out), Mathieu Darche (lower body, doubtful)

Game Thoughts:
The middle game of this tripleheader features two historic, fierce rivals. It’s a matchup where you can throw out the records, as the two teams have been pretty even in head-to-head matchups over the last few years. Montreal needs to get a win after back-to-back painful losses. However, Toronto usually plays well at Bell Centre and I have them taking this one.
Prediction: Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks
10:00 ET… TV: CBC

Overall: Flames (28-21-8) … Canucks (35-11-9)
Last Ten: Flames (8-0-2) … Canucks (6-1-3)
Away/Home: Flames (12-12-5) … Canucks (19-4-5)
Season Series: 2-0-1 Canucks

Players to watch:
CGY- Olli Jokinen
He gets a lot of criticism, but Jokinen has six points in three games this week.
VAN- Daniel Sedin
Sedin has gathered 17 points in his last 12 games and sits one point off the NHL lead.

Projected Goaltenders:
CGY- Henrik Karlsson (2010/11 stats: 4-3-4, 2.66 GAA)
VAN- Roberto Luongo (2010/11 stats: 26-8-7, 2.23 GAA)

Injury Report:
CGY- Alex Tanguay and Daymond Langkow (neck, out), Adam Pardy (upper body, out), Raitis Ivanans (concussion, out)
VAN- Roberto Luongo (illness, questionable), Dan Hamhuis (concussion, out), Alexander Edler (back, out), Keith Ballard (knee, out), Guillaume Desbiens (hand, out)

Game Thoughts:
After last night’s overtime loss to Anaheim, the Flames have picked up at least a point in the last 10 games (8-0-2). Vancouver is also coming off a loss to the Ducks, but had won six straight games beforehand. The last time these two met (last month), it felt like a playoff game. I think it will be a tough game for the Flames on the back half of a back-to-back, and see the Canucks grabbing the ‘W’.
Prediction: Canucks 4, Flames 2

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Capitals over Kings
Lightning over Hurricanes
Predators over Avalanche
Blackhawks over Coyotes
Wild over Blues

Morning Links:
ESPN… Pierre LeBrun has an update for a numerous topics on the trade front.
The Fourth Period… My latest for TFP – Pekka Rinne inching into Vezina contention.
Litter Box Cats… The panel makes some trade deadline predictions for the Panthers.
Preds On The Glass… Buddy ignores all of the Carrie Underwood drama and looks at Mike Fisher the individual.

Video of the Day: