The Morning Skate: 3/5


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 2, Penguins 1 (OT)
Rangers 4, Senators 1
Blackhawks 5, Hurricanes 2
Flames 4, Blue Jackets 3
Ducks 4, Stars 3 (OT)
Predictions record: 4-1

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Lubomir Visnovsky, ANA (3 Goals, 1 Assist)… Visnovsky notched his first career hat trick in the Ducks’ huge win over Dallas, including the OT winner.
2. Olli Jokinen, CGY (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
3. Teemu Selanne, ANA (1 Goal, 1 Assist)

Today’s Slate:
Blues @ Islanders, 1:00 ET
Sabres @ Flyers, 1:00
Canucks @ Kings, 4:00
Penguins @ Bruins, 7:00
Blackhawks @ Maple Leafs, 7:00
Panthers @ Thrashers, 7:00
Canadiens @ Lightning, 7:00
Red Wings @ Coyotes, 8:00
Oilers @ Avalanche, 10:00
Stars @ Sharks, 10:30

Games of the Day:
Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings
4:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Canucks (40-16-9) … Kings (36-24-4)
Last Ten: Canucks (5-5-0) … Kings (7-2-1)
Away/Home: Canucks (17-9-4) … Kings (20-10-1)
Season Series: 2-0 Kings

Players to watch:
VAN- Ryan Kesler
Kesler has not scored in seven games. Can he snap out of that funk today?
LA- Dustin Penner
Penner goes up against a familiar opponent in his second game as an L.A. King.

Projected Goaltenders:
VAN- Roberto Luongo (2010/11 stats: 29-13-7, 2.23 GAA)
LA- Jonathan Quick (2010/11 stats: 28-16-2, 2.23 GAA)

Injury Report:
VAN- Alexander Edler (back, out), Kevin Bieksa (foot, out), Chris Higgins (thumb, out), Andrew Alberts (wrist, out)
LA- Scott Parse (hip, out)

Game Thoughts:
Playoff foes from a year ago meet up today in Los Angeles for an intriguing matinee contest. To me, this could definitely be a playoff preview late in the playoffs. The Kings have been so good over the last three weeks, coming off a shutout win over Phoenix. Meanwhile, Vancouver has been inconsistent lately, going 5-6-0 in their last 11. With that being said, I’m going to go with Luongo and company in this one.
Prediction: Canucks 3, Kings 2

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins
7:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Penguins (37-21-8) … Bruins (38-19-7)
Last Ten: Penguins (2-4-4) … Bruins (7-3-0)
Away/Home: Penguins (17-10-6) … Bruins (16-12-3)
Season Series: 2-1 Bruins

Players to watch:
PIT- James Neal
Neal has gone five games without a goal as a Pen. I bet he ends that skid tonight.
BOS- David Krejci
Krejci has been producing consistently on the Bruins’ top line.

Projected Goaltenders:
PIT- Marc-Andre Fleury (2010/11 stats: 28-16-5, 2.37 GAA)
BOS- Tim Thomas (2010/11 stats: 29-8-6, 1.95 GAA)

Injury Report:
PIT- Sidney Crosby, Arron Asham and Eric Tangradi (concussion, out), Evgeni Malkin (knee, out), Chris Kunitz (lower body, doubtful), Brooks Orpik (finger, out), Nick Johnson (upper body, out), Mike Comrie (hip, out)
BOS- Patrice Bergeron (personal, doubtful), Marc Savard and Steven Kampfer (concussion, out), Andrew Ference (knee, out)

Game Thoughts:
The Pens and B’s will close out their season series tonight in Boston; Claude Julien’s club has taken two of the first three, but the road team has won each time. Pittsburgh is coming off back-to-back overtime losses, while the streaking Bruins have won seven in a row. I feel like the Pens are due for a win and the B’s are due for a loss; but I’m still going to go with Boston tonight.
Prediction: Bruins 3, Penguins 1

Detroit Red Wings @ Phoenix Coyotes
8:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Red Wings (39-19-7) … Coyotes (33-23-10)
Last Ten: Red Wings (6-3-1) … Coyotes (5-4-1)
Away/Home: Red Wings (22-9-3) … Coyotes (15-11-5)
Season Series: 2-1 Red Wings

Players to watch:
DET- Pavel Datsyuk
Datsyuk has 49 points in 33 career games vs. Phoenix.
PHX- Keith Yandle
The Norris contender will need to have another strong game tonight.

Projected Goaltenders:
DET- Jimmy Howard (2010/11 stats: 31-12-4, 2.80 GAA)
PHX- Ilya Bryzgalov (2010/11 stats: 27-17-7, 2.58 GAA)

Injury Report:
DET- Brian Rafalski (back, questionable), Patrick Eaves and Chris Osgood (groin, out)
PHX- Martin Hanzal (lower body, questionable), Ed Jovanovski (eye, out)

Game Thoughts:
Here’s another playoff rematch from last spring’s first round. After thwarting L.A. on Monday, Detroit has lost twice without much offense to show for it. The Coyotes are in reverse, losing five in a row and putting themselves back on the bubble. This game means more to the ‘Yotes, and the start is going to be huge for them. However, I think Detroit bounces back and gets two points.
Prediction: Red Wings 4, Coyotes 3 (OT)

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Islanders over Blues
Flyers over Sabres
Blackhawks over Maple Leafs
Thrashers over Panthers
Lightning over Canadiens
Avalanche over Oilers
Stars over Sharks

Video of the Day: