The Morning Skate: 3/3


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:

Maple Leafs 3, Penguins 2 (OT)
Devils 2, Lightning 1
Islanders 4, Wild 1
Blackhawks 6, Flames 4
Ducks 2, Red Wings 1 (OT)
Predictions record: 3-2

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Ilya Kovalchuk, NJ (1 Goal, 1 Assist)… Kovy seemingly kept the Devils’ unlikely playoff hopes alive with two big points.
2. Jonathan Toews, CHI (2 Goals)
3. Dan Ellis, ANA (27 Saves, 1 GA)

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

Games of the Night:
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Boston Bruins
7:00 ET… TV: NHL Net. (US), Local Networks

Overall: Lightning (37-19-7) … Bruins (37-19-7)
Last Ten: Lightning (5-3-2) … Bruins (7-3-0)
Away/Home: Lightning (16-12-3) … Bruins (15-12-3)
Season Series: 2-1 Bruins

Players to watch:
TB- Steven Stamkos
Has anyone ‘Seen Stamkos’ lately? The NHL leading goal-scorer has just one in the last nine games.
BOS- Milan Lucic
‘Looch’ had a great road trip; can he carry over that success?

Projected Goaltenders:
TB- Mike Smith (2010/11 stats: 10-5-0, 3.20 GAA)
BOS- Tim Thomas (2010/11 stats: 28-8-6, 1.97 GAA)

Injury Report:
TB- Ryan Malone and Mike Lundin (abdominal, out)
BOS- Marc Savard (concussion, out), Andrew Ference (knee, out)

Game Thoughts:
Come playoff time, this could be a late-round matchup in the Eastern Conference. There will certainly be a playoff atmosphere for this one. Boston returns home from a 6-0 road trip, their first of such since 1972. Meanwhile, the Bolts are coming in off a tough loss in New Jersey. The last time they visited Beantown, Tampa Bay was dismantled 8-1. I think they have that in the back of their minds, and the B’s have a letdown at home.
Prediction: Lightning 4, Bruins 3

Buffalo Sabres @ Carolina Hurricanes
7:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Sabres (30-25-7) … Hurricanes (30-25-9)
Last Ten: Sabres (5-3-2) … Hurricanes (4-4-2)
Away/Home: Sabres (16-10-4) … Hurricanes (17-10-3)
Season Series: 1-0 Sabres

Players to watch:
BUF- Thomas Vanek
Vanek’s production has cooled off a bit, but he usually raises his game vs. Carolina.
CAR- Cory Stillman
Stillman has been pretty effective since returning to the ‘Canes.

Projected Goaltenders:
BUF- Ryan Miller (2010/11 stats: 27-18-6, 2.65 GAA)
CAR- Cam Ward (2010/11 stats: 27-21-8, 2.70 GAA)

Injury Report:
BUF- Thomas Vanek (ankle, probable), Jordan Leopold (upper body, doubtful), Derek Roy (quad, out)
CAR- None

Game Thoughts:
Is this a big game, or is this a big game? The Hurricanes and Sabres are jockeying for playoff position, separated by two points for the eighth seed (and they’ll actually play twice more after tonight). Buffalo is playing with a lot of energy, while Carolina will be on a mission tonight on home-ice. This should be a great contest and it’s virtually a toss-up. Go with the Sabres in overtime.
Prediction: Sabres 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT)

Detroit Red Wings @ San Jose Sharks
10:30 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Red Wings (39-18-7) … Sharks (37-21-6)
Last Ten: Red Wings (7-2-1) … Sharks (8-2-0)
Away/Home: Red Wings (22-8-3) … Sharks (16-10-3)
Season Series: 2-1 Sharks

Players to watch:
DET- Henrik Zetterberg
Zetterberg has 32 points in 29 career games vs. San Jose.
SJ- Joe Thornton
Thornton has been doing a little bit of everything for the Sharks lately.

Projected Goaltenders:
DET- Jimmy Howard (2010/11 stats: 31-12-4, 2.80 GAA)
SJ- Antti Niemi (2010/11 stats: 24-15-3, 2.40 GAA)

Injury Report:
DET- Brian Rafalski (back, doubtful), Patrick Eaves (lower body, out), Chris Osgood (groin, out)
SJ- Dan Boyle and Ben Eager (upper body, questionable), Antero Niittymaki (lower body, out), Scott Nichol and Kent Huskins (upper body, out)

Game Thoughts:
San Jose and Detroit renew acquaintances tonight in the Bay Area for a big tilt. The Sharks just beat the Wings last week in Motown, so you know Mike Babcock’s crew will have a little bit of payback on their minds. Team Teal has won seven in a row, but could be due for a loss. The road team has won each game in the season series, and I think Detroit pulls out a victory tonight.
Prediction: Red Wings 4, Sharks 2

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Rangers over Wild
Flyers over Maple Leafs (Lock of the night)
Capitals over Blues
Senators over Thrashers
Canadiens over Panthers
Blue Jackets over Oilers
Predators over Canucks
Kings over Coyotes

Video of the Day