The Morning Skate: 3/24


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:
Canucks 2, Red Wings 1
Blackhawks 4, Panthers 0
Ducks 4, Stars 3 (OT)
Sharks 6, Flames 3
Predictions record: 1-3

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Daniel Sedin, VAN (2 Goals)… A day after seeing his baby girl be born, Daniel improved his case for the Hart with both of Vancouver’s goals in Detroit.
2. Patrick Marleau, SJ (2 Goals)
3. Cam Fowler, ANA (1 Goal, 1 Assist)

Tonight’s Slate:
Canadiens @ Bruins, 7:00 ET
Thrashers @ Islanders, 7:00
Senators @ Rangers, 7:00
Penguins @ Flyers, 7:00
Oilers @ Blues, 8:00
Ducks @ Predators, 8:00
Maple Leafs @ Avalanche, 9:00
Blue Jackets @ Coyotes, 10:00
Sharks @ Kings, 10:30

Games of the Night:
Montreal Canadiens @ Boston Bruins
7:00 ET… TV: TSN, Local Networks

Overall: Canadiens (40-27-7) … Bruins (40-22-10)
Last Ten: Canadiens (6-4-0) … Bruins (4-3-3)
Away/Home: Canadiens (18-17-1) … Bruins (17-12-5)
Season Series: 4-1 Canadiens

Players to watch:
MTL- Brian Gionta
In a big game like this one, Gionta needs to step up offensively.
BOS- Zdeno Chara
On top of being a marked man, the B’s need ‘Big Z’ to be on his A-game.

Projected Goaltenders:
MTL- Carey Price (2010/11 stats: 34-25-6, 2.35 GAA)
BOS- Tim Thomas (2010/11 stats: 30-10-8, 2.06 GAA)

Injury Report:
MTL- Marc Savard (concussion, out), Shane Hnidy (shoulder, out)
BOS- 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:
For two weeks now, this game has been circled on everyone’s calendars. It was at that time that Chara delivered the controversial hit to Montreal’s Pacioretty in the Habs’ 4-1 win. Montreal has won four of their five meetings this season, so you know Boston is out to prove they can win in this possible playoff preview. I don’t expect anything out of hand to happen (not on the level of their last two games), but the intensity will be playoff-esque. I’m going with the Bruins tonight…
Prediction: Bruins 3, Canadiens 1

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers
7:00 ET… TV: NHL Net. (US), Local Networks

Overall: Penguins (42-23-8) … Flyers (44-19-9)
Last Ten: Penguins (6-2-2) … Flyers (4-3-3)
Away/Home: Penguins (20-10-6) … Flyers (21-10-5)
Season Series: 3-1 Flyers

Players to watch:
PIT- Kris Letang
Pittsburgh needs Letang to be that Norris-contending defenseman he was earlier in the year.
PHI- Claude Giroux
Giroux has been about as consistent of a producer as anyone else in the NHL.

Projected Goaltenders:
PIT- Marc-Andre Fleury (2010/11 stats: 31-18-5, 2.38 GAA)
PHI- Sergei Bobrovsky (2010/11 stats: 26-11-5, 2.61 GAA)

Injury Report:
PIT- Mark Letestu (upper body, questionable), Sidney Crosby and Eric Tangradi (concussion, out), Evgeni Malkin (knee, out), Brooks Orpik (finger, out), Mike Comrie (hip, out), Nick Johnson (upper body, out)
PHI- Kimmo Timonen (neck, probable), Chris Pronger (hand, out), Oskars Bartulis (shoulder, out), Jody Shelley (eye, out), Ian Laperriere (head, out)

Game Thoughts:
These Keystone State rivals will go head-to-head for the fifth time this season. Coming off a tough shootout loss to the Capitals, Peter Laviolette’s Flyers will look to rebound against another rival. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh was on the right side of an emotional game that extended to a shootout, beating Detroit 5-4 on Monday. This is the first time the Pens and Flyers have met since before Christmas, so expect them to renew the hostilities. I like Philly here…
Prediction: Flyers 4, Penguins 3

San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings
10:30 ET… TV: TSN, Local Networks

Overall: Sharks (43-23-8) … Kings (41-26-6)
Last Ten: Sharks (6-2-2) … Kings (6-2-2)
Away/Home: Sharks (22-12-3) … Kings (21-12-3)
Season Series: Tied 2-2

Players to watch:
SJ- Patrick Marleau
Marleau scored twice last night and has 14 points in 11 games this month.
LA- Dustin Penner
The Kings would like to get more production out of Penner, especially now that Williams is out.

Projected Goaltenders:
SJ- Antti Niemi (2010/11 stats: 30-17-5, 2.48 GAA)
LA- Jonathan Quick (2010/11 stats: 31-18-3, 2.20 GAA)

Injury Report:
SJ- Niclas Wallin (head, questionable), Scott Nichol and Kent Huskins (upper body, out)
LA- Justin Williams (shoulder, out), Kyle Clifford (head, probable), Scott Parse (hip, out)

Game Thoughts:
The Sharks-Kings rivalry has quietly been a really entertaining series for the last couple years. Every game is hard-fought, and it will be even more so tonight. San Jose can essentially put away the Kings for the division hunt with a win, which would be their fifth straight. Los Angeles has had trouble scoring lately and need every point they can get. I think Terry Murray’s squad will manufacture a win in this one.
Prediction: Kings 3, Sharks 2 (SO)

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Islanders over Thrashers
Rangers over Senators
Blues over Oilers
Ducks over Predators
Maple Leafs over Avalanche
Coyotes over Blue Jackets

Video of the Day: