The Morning Skate: 2/17



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:

Maple Leafs 2, Sabres 1
Devils 3, Hurricanes 2
Kings 4, Blue Jackets 3 (SO)
Flyers 4, Panthers 2
Blackhawks 3, Wild 1
Penguins 3, Avalanche 2 (OT)
Flames 4, Stars 2
Capitals 7, Ducks 6
Predictions record: 6-2

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Alexander Semin, WSH (3 Goals)… It’s fitting that Semin scored a hat trick in a game where there was no defense, huh? Anyways, he had a great game, scoring for the first time since Nov. 28. He now has four hat tricks this year.
2. Corey Perry, ANA (1 Goal, 3 Assists)
3. Corey Crawford, CHI (33 Saves, 1 GA)

Tonight’s Slate:
Bruins @ Islanders, 7:00 ET
Kings @ Rangers, 7:00
Red Wings @ Lightning, 7:30
Canucks @ Predators, 8:00
Canadiens @ Oilers, 9:00
Thrashers @ Coyotes, 9:00
Capitals @ Sharks, 10:00

Games of the Night:
Detroit Red Wings @ Tampa Bay Lightning
7:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Red Wings (34-16-6) … Lightning (34-17-6)
Last Ten: Red Wings (6-4-0) … Lightning (7-2-1)
Away/Home: Red Wings (17-8-2) … Lightning (19-6-3)
Season Series (09/10): 1-0 Red Wings

Players to watch:
DET- Pavel Datsyuk
Datsyuk has nine points in five career games against the Bolts.
TB- Steven Stamkos
Stamkos has gone three games without a goal… he’s due!

Projected Goaltenders:
DET- Jimmy Howard (2010/11 stats: 28-10-3, 2.82 GAA)
TB- Dwayne Roloson (2010/11 stats: 15-18-2, 2.64 GAA)

Injury Report:
DET- Valterri Filppula (knee, out), Brad Stuart (jaw, probable), Mike Modano (wrist, out), Chris Osgood (groin, out), Jan Mursak (toe, questionable)
TB- Ryan Malone and Mike Lundin (abdominal, out), Nate Thompson (concussion, questionable), Matt Smaby (flu, questionable)

Game Thoughts:
The two seeds from each conference will be going head-to-head tonight in Tampa. Detroit recently swept Boston in a home-and-home, is 7-3-1 against the East this year, and has won both games in Tampa since the lockout. Guy Boucher’s Lightning has had an up-and-down stretch since the break, coming off a shootout loss to Philly. I think the Wings continue rolling and get the job done, but not in regulation.
Prediction: Red Wings 3, Lightning 2 (OT)

Vancouver Canucks @ Nashville Predators
8:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Canucks (37-12-9) … Predators (30-19-8)
Last Ten: Canucks (8-2-0) … Predators (4-4-2)
Away/Home: Canucks (17-8-4) … Predators (13-5-7)
Season Series: 1-0 Canucks

Players to watch:
VAN- Mikael Samuelsson
Samuelsson is red-hot with 13 points in 9 games since the break.
NSH- Mike Fisher
Will Fisher breakthrough and get his first goal as a Predator tonight?

Projected Goaltenders:
VAN- Roberto Luongo (2010/11 stats: 27-9-7, 2.24 GAA)
NSH- Pekka Rinne (2010/11 stats: 20-14-6, 2.10 GAA)

Injury Report:
VAN- Dan Hamhuis (concussion, out), Keith Ballard (knee, out), Alexander Edler (back, out), Andrew Alberts (wrist, out), Guillaume Desbiens (hand, out)
NSH- Francis Bouillon and Matthew Lombardi (concussion, out), Cal O’Reilly (leg, out)

Game Thoughts:
The Canucks and Preds will meet up for the second time this season; the West’s best took the first contest, 2-1, in a tight affair. Nashville is looking to bounce-back after an overtime loss to the Sharks. Vancouver is trying to build off a rare win in Minnesota on Tuesday. If the Preds’ top-ranked penalty kill on home-ice can nullify Vancouver’s great man advantage, I like their chances.
Prediction: Predators 2, Canucks 1

Washington Capitals @ San Jose Sharks
10:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Capitals (30-18-10) … Sharks (31-21-6)
Last Ten: Capitals (4-4-2) … Sharks (7-2-1)
Away/Home: Capitals (13-11-3) … Sharks (13-10-3)
Season Series: 1-0 Sharks

Players to watch:
WSH- Alexander Semin
How will Semin fare after his hat trick from last night?
SJ- Patrick Marleau
Marleau has been stepping up for the Sharks with five points in the last four games.

Projected Goaltenders:
WSH- Michal Neuvirth (2010/11 stats: 17-8-4, 2.51 GAA)
SJ- Antti Niemi (2010/11 stats: 18-15-3, 2.51 GAA)

Injury Report:
WSH- Mike Green (ear, doubtful), Eric Fehr (shoulder, out), Tom Poti (lower body, out)
SJ- Antero Niittymaki (lower body, doubtful)

Game Thoughts:
This will certainly be an entertaining game. San Jose comes in off a successful 5-2-1 road trip and will look to keep pace in the West. Meanwhile, Washington won in dramatic fashion just last night in Anaheim, landing on the right side of a crazy 7-6 game. Will that momentum carryover? Can the Sharks avoid a letdown after the roadie? I have no idea how this one will play out. Since the Caps haven’t won at the Shark Tank since 1993, go with Team Teal.
Prediction: Sharks 4, Capitals 3 (SO)

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Bruins over Islanders
Rangers over Kings
Canadiens over Oilers
Coyotes over Thrashers (Lock of the night)

Morning Links:
Vancouver Sun… Mike Fisher learning about living with a celebrity.
St. Louis Game Time… What is the plan for the Blues at the trade deadline?
Canes Country… What about the Hurricanes?
Life of a Hockey Widow… A different prospective on the trade deadline.

Video of the Day: