The Morning Skate: 3/1

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:

Blackhawks 4, Wild 2
Red Wings 7, Kings 4
Predictions record: 2-0

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Jonathan Toews, CHI (1 Goal, 2 Assists)… Toews capped off his incredible month with a clutch three-point performance in Minnesota.
2. Drew Miller, DET (2 Goals)
3. Patrick Sharp, CHI (1 Goal, 1 Assist)

Tonight’s Slate:
Sabres @ Rangers, 7:00 ET
Islanders @ Capitals, 7:00
Panthers @ Hurricanes, 7:00
Canadiens @ Thrashers, 7:00
Bruins @ Senators, 7:30
Flames @ Blues, 8:00
Stars @ Coyotes, 9:00
Predators @ Oilers, 9:30
Blue Jackets @ Canucks, 10:00
Avalanche @ Sharks, 10:30

Games of the Night:
Buffalo Sabres @ New York Rangers

Overall: Sabres (29-25-7) … Rangers (33-27-4)
Last Ten: Sabres (5-3-2) … Rangers (4-6-0)
Away/Home: Sabres (15-10-4) … Rangers (14-14-3)
Season Series: 2-0 Rangers

Players to watch:
BUF- Brad Boyes
How will the streaky goal-scorer perform in his debut?
NYR- Brandon Dubinsky
Dubinsky needs to get out of his five-game funk tonight.

Projected Goaltenders:
BUF- Ryan Miller (2010/11 stats: 26-18-6, 2.66 GAA)
NYR- Henrik Lundqvist (2010/11 stats: 25-21-4, 2.33 GAA)

Injury Report:
BUF- Jordan Leopold (upper body, questionable), Derek Roy (quad, out)
NYR- Marc Stall (knee, questionable), Marian Gaborik (concussion, out), Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder, questionable), Martin Biron (collarbone, out), Chris Drury and Alexander Frolov (knee, out), Derek Boogaard (concussion, out)

Game Thoughts:
The race for the final spots in the East heats up tonight in Manhattan when Miller’s Sabres take on Lundqvist’s Blueshirts. Buffalo has collected five of their last six possible points, and has new energy around the franchise with new owner Terry Pegula. Amidst injuries, the Rangers are trying to hold on to a playoff spot. Lindy Ruff’s crew usually plays well at MSG, so I’m going with the Sabres tonight.
Prediction: Sabres 3, Rangers 2 (SO)

Dallas Stars @ Phoenix Coyotes
9:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Stars (33-23-6) … Coyotes (33-21-10)
Last Ten: Stars (3-6-1) … Coyotes (7-2-1)
Away/Home: Stars (15-14-1) … Coyotes (15-10-5)
Season Series: 3-1 Coyotes

Players to watch:
DAL- Loui Eriksson
Eriksson has scored both game-winning goals in the last two games.
PHX- Keith Yandle
Yandle’s stats since Jan. 11: 4 goals, 24 points, +3 in 22 games.

Projected Goaltenders:
DAL- Kari Lehtonen (2010/11 stats: 25-18-6, 2.61 GAA)
PHX- Ilya Bryzgalov (2010/11 stats: 27-15-7, 2.60 GAA)

Injury Report:
DAL- Brad Richards (concussion, out), Nicklas Grossman (hip, doubtful)
PHX- Ed Jovanovski (eye, out), Rostislav Klesla (knee, questionable)

Game Thoughts:
Tonight the Stars will look to draw closer to the Coyotes in the playoff chase. Marc Crawford’s club is coming off two huge wins to stop the bleeding, while Phoenix’s skid has hit three after a shootout loss in Chicago. Look for the Stars to play with a lot of energy, but I like the Coyotes’ chances tonight; they rarely lose more than three games in a row.
Prediction: Coyotes 4, Stars 2

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Capitals over Islanders
Hurricanes over Panthers
Canadiens over Thrashers
Bruins over Senators
Blues over Flames
Predators over Oilers
Blue Jackets over Canucks
Sharks over Avalanche (Lock of the night)

Morning Links:
USA Today… Kevin Allen with his most improved teams in February; two rivals top the list.
The Fourth Period… Dave Pagnotta looks at the deadline day that was almost a disaster.
Sporting News… Craig Custance highlights the Kings and Caps making a splash moments before the deadline.
Puck Daddy… Greg Wyshynski’s trade deadline report card.
Pro Hockey Talk… James O’Brien with his five losers of the deadline; No. 1 has a different twist!

Video of the Day