The Morning Skate: 3/29

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 3, Red Wings 2 (OT)
Ducks 5, Avalanche 4
Predictions record: 2-0

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Teemu Selanne, ANA (3 Goals, 2 Assists)… The ageless wonder put on a show in SoCal last night, netting a hat trick and racking up five points.
2. Marian Hossa, CHI (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
3. Cam Fowler, ANA (1 Goal, 1 Assist)

Tonight’s Slate:
Sabres @ Maple Leafs, 7:00 ET
Flyers @ Penguins, 7:00
Hurricanes @ Capitals, 7:00
Panthers @ Blue Jackets, 7:00
Blackhawks @ Bruins, 7:30
Thrashers @ Canadiens, 7:30
Senators @ Lightning, 7:30
Wild @ Blues, 8:00
Canucks @ Predators, 8:00
Kings @ Oilers, 9:30
Stars @ Coyotes, 10:00

Games of the Night:
Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins
7:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Flyers (45-20-10) … Penguins (45-23-8)
Last Ten: Flyers (5-1-4) … Penguins (8-2-0)
Away/Home: Flyers (24-9-4) … Penguins (24-13-2)
Season Series: 3-2 Penguins

Players to watch:
PHI- Claude Giroux
The Flyers need Giroux to be at the top of his two-way game in this one.
PIT- James Neal
Neal has one goal in 15 games as a Penguin; can he find the back of the net tonight?

Projected Goaltenders:
PHI- Sergei Bobrovsky (2010/11 stats: 27-11-6, 2.53 GAA)
PIT- Marc-Andre Fleury (2010/11 stats: 34-18-5, 2.28 GAA)

Injury Report:
PHI- Chris Pronger (hand, out), Oskars Bartulis (shoulder, out), Jody Shelley (eye, out), Ian Laperriere (head, out)
PIT- Sidney Crosby and Eric Tangradi (concussion, out), Evgeni Malkin and Dustin Jeffrey (knee, out), Brent Johnson and Mark Letestu (upper body, questionable), Nick Johnson (upper body, out)

Game Thoughts:
For the second time in less than a week, rivals Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will meet up; the Pens won in Philly last week in a shootout. That win is one of four straight victories for Pittsburgh that have come in the shootout. Meanwhile, Peter Laviolette’s gang hasn’t been on their A-game for a few weeks. The Flyers have already won twice in Pittsburgh; can they do it a third time? I have my doubts…
Prediction: Penguins 3, Flyers 1

Chicago Blackhawks @ Boston Bruins

Overall: Blackhawks (41-26-8) … Bruins (42-23-10)
Last Ten: Blackhawks (5-3-2) … Bruins (4-4-2)
Away/Home: Blackhawks (18-11-8) … Bruins (18-13-5)
Season Series (09/10): 2-0 Blackhawks

Players to watch:
CHI- Duncan Keith
On the back half of a back-to-back, Keith needs to have a strong game on both ends of the ice.
BOS- Nathan Horton
Horton has scored three goals in his last three games; can he keep it up tonight?

Projected Goaltenders:
CHI- Corey Crawford (2010/11 stats: 30-15-5, 2.27 GAA)
BOS- Tim Thomas (2010/11 stats: 32-10-8, 2.00 GAA)

Injury Report:
CHI- Patrick Sharp and Jordan Hendry (knee, out), Dave Bolland (concussion, out)
BOS- Marc Savard (concussion, out), Shane Hnidy (shoulder, out)

Game Thoughts:
After clipping Detroit in overtime last night, the Blackhawks make their way to Boston for another contest with an Original Six foe. Claude Julien’s club is coming off a quality win against the Flyers, looking to continue to round into form. The ‘Hawks are scratching and clawing for every point they can get. I think this one goes down to the wire… go with Boston.
Prediction: Bruins 2, Blackhawks 1 (SO)

Vancouver Canucks @ Nashville Predators
8:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Canucks (50-17-9) … Predators (41-25-10)
Last Ten: Canucks (9-1-0) … Predators (8-1-1)
Away/Home: Canucks (25-9-4) … Predators (22-8-7)
Season Series: 2-1 Predators

Players to watch:
VAN- Daniel Sedin
The NHL’s point leader has 17 points in his last 11 games.
NSH- Sergei Kostitsyn
After picking up 2 points in a 13-game span, Kostitsyn is suddenly on a 6-game point streak.

Projected Goaltenders:
VAN- Roberto Luongo (2010/11 stats: 35-14-7, 2.18 GAA)
NSH- Pekka Rinne (2010/11 stats: 30-20-8, 2.10 GAA)

Injury Report:
VAN- Mikael Samuelsson (lower body, questionable), Alexander Edler (back, out), Dan Hamhuis (concussion, out), Manny Malhotra (eye, out), Tanner Glass (ribs, questionable), Andrew Alberts (wrist, out)
NSH- Steve Sullivan (groin, out), Francis Bouillon and Matthew Lombardi (concussion, out), Marcel Goc (shoulder, out), Cal O’Reilly (leg, out)

Game Thoughts:
The Canucks and Predators will wrap up their season series tonight in Music City in what could be a first-round preview. Though the injury bug continues to bite the Canucks, they’ve won 10 of 11 and eight straight on the road. Nashville has been on a streak of their own, claiming six consecutive wins at the most opportune time of the year. After two huge wins late last week, you get the feeling a letdown is possible for the Preds. It should be a great, low-scoring tilt.
Prediction: Canucks 3, Predators 2 (OT)

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Maple Leafs over Sabres
Capitals over Hurricanes
Blue Jackets over Panthers
Canadiens over Thrashers
Lightning over Senators
Blues over Wild
Kings over Oilers
Stars over Coyotes

Video of the Day:

The Playoff Drive:
Countdown – 15 days

SportsClubStats swing game of the day:
Dallas @ Phoenix
Stars’ playoff chances w/ win: 52.7% (+15.4)
With a loss: 23.6% (-13.7)

Playoff video of the day: