The Morning Skate: 3/16

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:
Devils 4, Thrashers 2
Rangers 6, Islanders 3
Bruins 3, Blue Jackets 2 (SO)
Capitals 4, Canadiens 2
Hurricanes 1, Sabres 0
Penguins 5, Senators 1
Flyers 3, Panthers 2
Kings 4, Predators 2
Sharks 6, Stars 3
Coyotes 4, Flames 3
Predictions record: 6-4

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Cam Ward, CAR (40 Saves, Shutout)… Ward closed the door and came up huge all night for the ‘Canes in a momentous win over Buffalo.
2. Marcus Johansson, WSH (2 Goals)
3. Jeff Carter, PHI (2 Goals)
Close but no cigar: M. Gaborik, NYR; T. Rask, BOS; A. Kopitar, LA; J. Pavelski and J. Thornton, SJ; J. Staal and T. Kennedy, PIT; J. Josefson, NJ; V. Fiddler, PHX

Tonight’s Slate:
Maple Leafs @ Hurricanes, 7:00 ET
Capitals @ Red Wings, 7:30
Avalanche @ Canucks, 10:00
Blues @ Ducks, 10:00

Games of the Night:
Washington Capitals @ Detroit Red Wings
7:30 ET… TV: VERSUS, Local Networks

Overall: Capitals (41-20-10) … Red Wings (41-20-8)
Last Ten: Capitals (9-1-0) … Red Wings (4-4-2)
Away/Home: Capitals (19-12-3) … Red Wings (18-11-4)
Season Series (09/10): Tied 1-1

Players to watch:
WSH- Brooks Laich
Laich scored last night, and needs to be a key player in the dirty/hard areas tonight.
DET- Pavel Datsyuk
These two don’t play often, but Datsyuk has owned the Caps in his career.

Projected Goaltenders:
WSH- Braden Holtby (2010/11 stats: 9-2-2, 1.95 GAA)
DET- Jimmy Howard (2010/11 stats: 33-13-5, 2.77 GAA)

Injury Report:
WSH- Nicklas Backstrom (thumb, doubtful), Jason Arnott (hand, out), Mike Green (head, out), Eric Fehr (upper body, questionable), John Erskine (illness, questionable), Semyon Varlamov (knee, out), Tom Poti (groin, out)
DET- Brian Rafalski (back, probable), Patrick Eaves (groin, out)

Game Thoughts:
Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals roll into Detroit with a nine-game winning streak after last night’s win in Montreal. Can they extend it to ten tonight? It will be difficult, going up against a determined Detroit team that is looking to get back on their A-game. I expect this to be a great game, a possible Cup final preview. Washington’s streak can’t go on forever, can it?
Prediction: Red Wings 3, Capitals 2

Wednesday Game of the Week:
Toronto Maple Leafs (30-30-10) @ Carolina Hurricanes (32-28-10)
7:00 ET… TV: Local Networks
Season Series: 2-1 Hurricanes

Prediction: Coming soon
More to come from this game…

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Canucks over Avalanche (Lock of the night)
Ducks over Blues

Video of the Day:


The Playoff Drive:
Countdown – 28 days

SportsClubStats swing game of the day:
Toronto @ Carolina
Maple Leafs’ playoff chances w/ win: 3.3% (+1.6)
With a loss: 0.5% (-1.2)
Hurricanes’ playoff chances w/ win: 43.7% (+6.9)
With a loss: 25.2% (-11.6)

Playoff video of the day: