The Morning Skate: 3/22

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:
Penguins 5, Red Wings 4 (SO)
Kings 2, Flames 1 (SO)
Predictions record: 1-1

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Pascal Dupuis, PIT (2 Goals, 1 Assist)… Dupuis’ three points came out of nowhere, but helped Pittsburgh grab a big ‘W’ in Detroit.
2. Jonathan Quick, LA (27 Saves, 1 GA)
3. Valterri Filppula, DET (1 Goal, 1 Assist)

Tonight’s Slate:
Devils @ Bruins, 7:00 ET
Panthers @ Rangers, 7:00
Senators @ Hurricanes, 7:00
Capitals @ Flyers, 7:30
Sabres @ Canadiens, 7:30
Islanders @ Lightning, 7:30
Oilers @ Predators, 8:00
Maple Leafs @ Wild, 8:00
Blue Jackets @ Avalanche, 9:00
Blues @ Coyotes, 10:00

Games of the Night:
Washington Capitals @ Philadelphia Flyers

Overall: Capitals (42-21-10) … Flyers (44-19-8)
Last Ten: Capitals (9-1-0) … Flyers (4-4-2)
Away/Home: Capitals (20-13-3) … Flyers (21-10-4)
Season Series: 2-1 Flyers

Players to watch:
WSH- Alexander Semin
With Ovechkin out, Semin becomes the Caps’ lone lethal scoring threat.
PHI- Jeff Carter
Carter has been scoring some big goals recently.

Projected Goaltenders:
WSH- Michal Neuvirth (2010/11 stats: 23-11-4, 2.42 GAA)
PHI- Sergei Bobrovsky (2010/11 stats: 26-11-5, 2.56 GAA)

Injury Report:
WSH- Alex Ovechkin (rest, out), Jason Arnott and Tom Poti (groin, out), Mike Green (head, out), Eric Fehr (shoulder, questionable), John Erskine (flu, questionable), Semyon Varlamov (knee, doubtful)
PHI- Chris Pronger (hand, out), Oskars Bartulis (shoulder, out), Ian Laperriere (head, out)

Game Thoughts:
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference will slug it out in Philadelphia tonight. If Washington wants to claim the top seed, this is a game they’d have to have. Bruce Boudreau’s group has won 10 of 11, while the Flyers have played .500 hockey this month. From that perspective, I like the Caps. But with their injuries, I think the Flyers keep them from a locking up a playoff berth for another night.
Prediction: Flyers 3, Capitals 2

Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens
7:30 ET… TV: TSN, Local Networks

Overall: Sabres (35-28-9) … Canadiens (40-26-7)
Last Ten: Sabres (5-3-2) … Canadiens (7-3-0)
Away/Home: Sabres (19-12-5) … Canadiens (22-9-6)
Season Series: 3-2 Canadiens

Players to watch:
BUF- Thomas Vanek
Vanek has had some great scoring chances lately, but hasn’t buried them.
MTL- P.K. Subban
Subban notched his first career hat trick on Sunday; what will he do for an encore?

Projected Goaltenders:
BUF- Ryan Miller (2010/11 stats: 30-21-8, 2.68 GAA)
MTL- Carey Price (2010/11 stats: 34-24-6, 2.38 GAA)

Injury Report:
BUF- Jochen Hecht (upper body, doubtful), Steve Montador (lower body, questionable), Derek Roy (quad, out), Patrick Kaleta and Patrick Lalime (knee, out)
MTL- Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern (lower body, questionable), Brent Sopel (hand, questionable), Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Jaroslav Spacek (knee, out), Max Pacioretty (concussion, out), Mathieu Darche (groin, out)

Game Thoughts:
These division foes will wrap up their season series tonight in Montreal. Buffalo is coming off a stinging loss to Nashville; how they rebound will be a big factor in this one. The Habs are ailing right now, but that didn’t keep them from trouncing Minnesota 8-1 over the weekend. All five games thus far have been low-scoring, and I’d expect more of the same. I think Montreal squeaks by with a big game from Price.
Prediction: Canadiens 2, Sabres 1

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Bruins over Devils
Rangers over Panthers (Lock of the night)
Hurricanes over Senators
Lightning over Islanders
Predators over Oilers
Wild over Maple Leafs
Blue Jackets over Avalanche
Blues over Coyotes

Video of the Day:



The Playoff Drive:
Countdown – 22 days

SportsClubStats swing game of the day:
Edmonton @ Nashville
Predators’ playoff chances w/ win: 85.3% (+5.0)
With a loss: 66.3% (-14.0)