The Morning Skate: 3/11

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:

Sabres 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
Flyers 3, Maple Leafs 2
Senators 2, Panthers 1
Blues 4, Canadiens 1
Predators 4, Wild 0
Coyotes 3, Flames 0
Canucks 5, Sharks 4 (SO)
Predictions record: 5-2

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Ilya Bryzgalov, PHX (39 Saves, Shutout)… Bryzgalov delivered with a clutch 39-save shutout over the Flames.
2. Andy McDonald, STL (1 Goal, 2 Assists)
3. Brad Boyes, BUF (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
Close but no cigar: E. Karlsson and C. Anderson, OTT; R. Clowe, SJ; D. Sedin, VAN; J. Ward and N. Spaling, NSH; C. Giroux, PHI

Tonight’s Slate:
Bruins @ Islanders, 7:00 ET
Hurricanes @ Capitals, 7:00
Kings @ Blue Jackets, 7:00
Oilers @ Red Wings, 7:30
Devils @ Thrashers, 7:30
Senators @ Lightning, 7:30
Wild @ Stars, 8:30
Ducks @ Avalanche, 9:00

Games of the Night:
Carolina Hurricanes @ Washington Capitals
7:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Hurricanes (31-26-10) … Capitals (38-20-10)
Last Ten: Hurricanes (4-4-2) … Capitals (8-2-0)
Away/Home: Hurricanes (13-16-6) … Capitals (20-8-7)
Season Series: 4-0 Capitals

Players to watch:
CAR- Eric Staal
Facing a must-win, the ‘Canes need their captain to come through in the clutch.
WSH- Alex Ovechkin
Ovechkin is heating up, compiling 10 points in the team’s current six-game win streak.

Projected Goaltenders:
CAR- Cam Ward (2010/11 stats: 28-21-7, 2.69 GAA)
WSH- Braden Holtby (2010/11 stats: 6-2-2, 1.95 GAA)

Injury Report:
CAR- None
WSH- Nicklas Backstrom (thumb, questionable), Michal Neuvirth (face, questionable), Mike Green (head, doubtful), Semyon Varlamov (knee, out), Jay Beagle (upper body, questionable), Tom Poti (groin, out)

Game Thoughts:
Washington and Carolina meet up for the fifth time this season; Bruce Boudreau’s club has won the first four (three were one-goal games). Paul Maurice’s Canes will look to solve the Caps as they try to surpass the Rangers for the eighth seed. Washington is cruising after six games in a row and have their sights set on the top seed. Carolina gives them all they can handle and win in overtime.
Prediction: Hurricanes 3, Capitals 2 (OT)

Minnesota Wild @ Dallas Stars
8:30 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Wild (35-26-7) … Stars (36-23-8)
Last Ten: Wild (5-3-2) … Stars (5-3-2)
Away/Home: Wild (18-13-3) … Stars (18-9-6)
Season Series: 2-0 Stars

Players to watch:
MIN- Martin Havlat
Havlat has 18 points in 17 career games vs. Dallas, and needs to step up tonight.
DAL- Brad Richards
Richards, in his second game back from injury, has owned Minnesota in his career.

Projected Goaltenders:
MIN- Jose Theodore (2010/11 stats: 12-8-3, 2.58 GAA)
DAL- Kari Lehtonen (2010/11 stats: 28-18-8, 2.62 GAA)

Injury Report:
MIN- Mikko Koivu (finger, out), Cal Clutterbuck (head, doubtful), Cam Barker (upper body, questionable), Clayton Stoner (lower body, questionable), Josh Harding and James Sheppard (knee, out)
DAL- Nicklas Grossman (hip, questionable)

Game Thoughts:
Todd Richards’ Minnesota Wild, coming off a bad loss in Nashville, look to inch closer to the Stars and a conference playoff spot. But they’ll have to do it in a house of horrors that they haven’t won in since 2002. The Stars have improved their play over the last couple weeks, and I see them keeping that up in this one.
Prediction: Stars 3, Wild 1

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Bruins over Islanders
Kings over Blue Jackets
Red Wings over Oilers (Lock of the night)
Devils over Thrashers
Lightning over Senators
Ducks over Avalanche

Video of the Day: