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: