The Morning Skate: 2/14



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 4, Bruins 2
Islanders 7, Sabres 6 (OT)
Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Blue Jackets 2, Stars 1
Kings 1, Flyers 0
Hurricanes 3, Thrashers 2
Panthers 3, Sharks 2
Ducks 4, Oilers 0
Predictions record: 3-5


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My 3 stars of the night:
1. Jonathan Quick, LA (40 Saves, Shutout)… The Kings continued their successful road trip with Quick’s marquee performance in Philly.
2. Michael Grabner, NYI (3 Goals)
3. Drew Stafford, BUF (3 Goals)
Close but no cigar: J. Hiller and B. Ryan, ANA; R. Callahan, NYR; C. Ward, CAR; T. Bertuzzi, DET; S. Mason, CBJ; C. Higgins, FLA

If the playoffs started today…
Eastern Conference:
1) PHI vs. 8) CAR
2) TB vs. 7) NYR
3) BOS vs. 6) MTL
4) PIT vs. 5) WSH
Western Conference:
1) VAN vs. 8) MIN
2) DET vs. 7) SJ
3) DAL vs. 6) PHX
4) ANA vs. 5) NSH

Tonight’s Slate:
Canucks @ Blues, 8:00 ET
Capitals @ Coyotes, 8:00
Flames @ Avalanche, 10:00

Game of the Night:
Washington Capitals @ Phoenix Coyotes

Overall: Capitals (29-17-10) … Coyotes (29-19-9)
Last Ten: Capitals (4-3-3) … Coyotes (6-4-0)
Away/Home: Capitals (12-10-3) … Coyotes (13-10-5)
Season Series (09/10): 1-0 Capitals

Players to watch:
WSH- Brooks Laich
Against a tight-knit Phoenix club, the Caps need Laich to be a force in the dirty areas.
PHX- Ray Whitney
Whitney’s facing a familiar foe and has five assists in the last three games.

Projected Goaltenders:
WSH- Michal Neuvirth (2010/11 stats: 16-7-4, 2.45 GAA)
PHX- Ilya Bryzgalov (2010/11 stats: 23-14-6, 2.58 GAA)

Injury Report:
WSH- Eric Fehr (shoulder, out), Tom Poti (lower body, out)
PHX- David Schlemko and Kurt Sauer (head, out)

Game Thoughts:
Washington makes their way to Phoenix for a rare inter-conference matchup tonight. These teams seem to be going in opposite directions; Phoenix has won four straight while the Caps have lost two in a row. The ‘Yotes have been inconsistent at home, but so has Bruce Boudreau’s gang on the road. It seems like a toss-up… I’ll go with Washington.
Prediction: Capitals 3, Coyotes 2

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Canucks over Blues
Avalanche over Flames

Morning Links:
- Yahoo!… Nick Cotsonika says Mario Lemieux’s statement is hypocritical.
- Denver Post… Adrian Dater puts Joe Sacco’s decision-making into question.
- Fox Sports Arizona… One take on why the Blackhawks are struggling this year compared to last.
- Silver Seven Sens… Mike Fisher puts a goodbye letter in the Ottawa Citizen. Classy.
- The Star-Ledger… The Devils will not have a captain for the remainder of the season.

Video of the Day: