The Morning Skate: 2/4

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 5, Stars 3
Maple Leafs 3, Hurricanes 0
Devils 3, Rangers 2
Flyers 3, Predators 2
Flames 4, Thrashers 2
Wild 4, Avalanche 3

Predictions record: 4-2
My 3 stars of the night:
1. James Reimer, TOR (27 Saves, Shutout)… Reimer picked up his first shutout of his career with a 27-save performance against the ‘Canes.
2. Ville Leino, PHI (2 Goals)
3. Patrice Bergeron, BOS (2 Goals, 1 Assist)
Close but no cigar: J. Carter, PHI; A. Brunette and P. Bouchard, MIN; M. Giordano, CGY; D. Zubrus, NJ


Tonight’s Slate:
Panthers @ Devils, 7:00 ET
Sabres @ Penguins, 7:00
Blue Jackets @ Red Wings, 7:30
Capitals @ Lightning, 7:30
Oilers @ Blues, 8:00
Blackhawks @ Canucks, 10:00
Games of the Night:
Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning
7:00 ET… TV: NHL Net. (US), Local Networks

Overall: Capitals (27-15-10) … Lightning (32-15-5)
Last Ten: Capitals (3-3-4) … Lightning (7-3-0)
Away/Home: Capitals (11-10-3) … Lightning (17-4-2)
Season Series: 2-1-1 Capitals
Players to watch:
WSH- Mike Green
Green has two points in the last nine games; can he turn it around?
TB- Martin St. Louis
St. Louis has gone more than one game without a point just once this year.
Projected Goaltenders:
WSH- Semyon Varlamov (2010/11 stats: 8-7-4, 2.14 GAA)
TB- Dwayne Roloson (2010/11 stats: 14-16-1, 2.43 GAA)
Injury Report:
WSH- Alexander Semin (hip, out), Eric Fehr (shoulder, out), Tom Poti (lower body, out)
TB- Ryan Malone (undisclosed, questionable)
Game Thoughts:
For the fifth time this season, Southeast foes Washington and Tampa Bay will face-off; the last two will take place at St. Pete Times Forum. The Lightning are in the midst of their league-record 12-game home-stand, which they have won the first three. Bruce Boudreau’s team has sputtered of late and must win this game before the Bolts runaway with the division. Roloson shutout Washington in the last two meetings and I like the Lightning once again.
Prediction: Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO)

Chicago Blackhawks @ Vancouver Canucks
10:00 ET… TV: TSN, Local Networks
Overall: Blackhawks (27-20-4) … Canucks (33-10-9)
Last Ten: Blackhawks (6-3-1) … Canucks (5-2-3)
Away/Home: Blackhawks (11-7-4) … Canucks (17-3-5)
Season Series: 2-1 Blackhawks
Players to watch:
CHI- Patrick Kane
The All-Star seems to always raise his game against Vancouver.

VAN- Ryan Kesler
Is there any other player hotter right now than Kesler? He has 11 goals in the last 14 games.
Projected Goaltenders:
CHI- Corey Crawford (2010/11 stats: 16-10-2, 2.19 GAA)
VAN- Roberto Luongo (2010/11 stats: 24-8-7, 2.22 GAA)
Injury Report:
CHI- Ryan Johnson (lower body, out)
VAN- Alexander Edler (back, out), Sami Salo (Achilles, out), Andrew Alberts and Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder, out), Aaron Rome (knee, out), Aaron Volpatti (ribs, questionable), Guillaume Desbiens (hand, out)
Game Thoughts:
Well, well, well… it’s these two again! This is one of best rivalries going in the league as of this moment as some bad blood still exists from the last two postseasons. However, if the playoffs ended today, Chicago would be on the outside looking in. Vancouver is on fire right now, coming off blowout wins in Dallas and Phoenix. Will they carryover that success or lay an egg at home? I’ll say Chicago keeps it close, but the Canucks grab two points.
Prediction: Canucks 4, Blackhawks 3
The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Devils over Panthers
Penguins over Sabres
Red Wings over Blue Jackets
Blues over Oilers

Video of the Day:

*Did you miss our radio show Wednesday? No worries… you can always catch up on the archive!