The Morning Skate: 3/7

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:

Rangers 7, Flyers 0
Devils 3, Islanders 2 (SO)
Capitals 3, Panthers 2 (OT)
Sabres 3, Wild 2 (OT)
Flames 3, Predators 2
Canucks 3, Ducks 0
Predictions record: 3-3

My 3 stars of the day:
1. Ryan Callahan, NYR (4 Goals, 1 Assist)… Callahan stepped up in a big way with an amazing four-goal, five-point performance against Philly.
2. Cory Schneider, VAN (26 Saves, Shutout)
3. Ilya Kovalchuk, NJ (1 Goal, 1 Assist)

Tonight’s Slate:
Capitals @ Lightning, 7:00 ET
Blue Jackets @ Blues, 9:00
Stars @ Kings, 10:30

Games of the Night:
Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning

Overall: Capitals (36-20-10) … Lightning (37-21-7)
Last Ten: Capitals (7-3-0) … Lightning (4-4-2)
Away/Home: Capitals (17-12-3) … Lightning (21-8-4)
Season Series: 3-2 Capitals

Players to watch:
WSH- Alex Ovechkin
Ovechkin had four points in their last meeting.
TB- Steven Stamkos
The Bolts need Stamkos to snap out of his slump (4 points in 9 games).

Projected Goaltenders:
WSH- Michal Neuvirth (2010/11 stats: 22-10-4, 2.47 GAA)
TB- Dwayne Roloson (2010/11 stats: 18-21-2, 2.67 GAA)

Injury Report:
WSH- Mike Green (head, out), Semyon Varlamov (knee, out), Jay Beagle (upper body, questionable), Eric Fehr (shoulder, out), Tom Poti (groin, out)
TB- Steve Downie (lower body, questionable), Ryan Malone and Mike Lundin (abdomen, out)

Game Thoughts:
First place in the Southeast Division is on the line tonight in Tampa Bay. The Lightning have dropped three straight. This is a dicey game for them with Chicago coming into town on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the ‘cardiac’ Caps have passed the Bolts for the division lead with yesterday’s win in Florida. This is their last meeting of the year, so you know it will be played like a playoff game. With a tad more rest and desperation, I like the home team here.
Prediction: Lightning 3, Capitals 2

Dallas Stars @ Los Angeles Kings
10:30 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Stars (35-23-7) … Kings (36-25-4)
Last Ten: Stars (4-5-1) … Kings (6-3-1)
Away/Home: Stars (17-14-2) … Kings (20-11-1)
Season Series: 2-1 Kings

Players to watch:
DAL- Loui Eriksson
Eriksson is starting to heat up with a five-game point streak.
LA- Justin Williams
Williams has not scored a goal since Feb. 16; does that drought end tonight?

Projected Goaltenders:
DAL- Kari Lehtonen (2010/11 stats: 27-18-7, 2.61 GAA)
LA- Jonathan Quick (2010/11 stats: 30-20-5, 2.56 GAA)

Injury Report:
DAL- Brad Richards (concussion, doubtful), Jamie Langenbrunner (upper body, questionable), Nicklas Grossman (hip, questionable)
LA- Scott Parse (hip, out)

Game Thoughts:
The Stars and Kings, entrenched in the wild and wooly Western Conference, have three games left head-to-head. One will be played tonight as the two faceoff in L.A. Dallas is coming off a huge win in San Jose, while the Kings will be looking bounce back after a loss to the Canucks. Quick has had the Stars’ number in his short career, and I think that continues tonight.
Prediction: Kings 3, Stars 1

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Blues over Blue Jackets

Video of the Day: