The Morning Skate:2/25


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:

Flyers 4, Islanders 3 (OT)
Stars 4, Red Wings 1
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 4
Blackhawks 3, Predators 0
Canucks 3, Blues 2
Kings 4, Wild 2
Predictions record: 4-2

My 3 stars of the night:
1. Phil Kessel, TOR (2 Goals, 2 Assists)… Kessel continued his hot streak in Montreal with a pair of goals and a pair of primary assists.
2. Kari Lehtonen, DAL (38 Saves, 1 GA)
3. Corey Crawford, CHI (31 Saves, Shutout)
Close but no cigar: W. Simmonds, LA; T. Bozak, TOR; J. Carter, PHI; C. Schneider, VAN

Tonight’s Slate:
Rangers @ Capitals, 7:00 ET
Penguins @ Hurricanes, 7:00
Coyotes @ Blue Jackets, 7:00
Senators @ Sabres, 7:30
Panthers @ Thrashers, 7:30
Devils @ Lightning, 7:30
Sharks @ Flames, 9:00
Blues @ Oilers, 9:00
Wild @ Ducks, 10:00

Games of the Night:
New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals
7:00 ET… TV: NHL Net. (US), Local Networks

Overall: Rangers (32-26-4) … Capitals (32-19-10)
Last Ten: Rangers (3-6-1) … Capitals (5-4-1)
Away/Home: Rangers (18-13-1) … Capitals (17-7-7)
Season Series: 2-1 Rangers

Players to watch:
NYR- Derek Stepan
With Gaborik out of the lineup, Stepan is someone who needs to step up offensively.
WSH- Alex Ovechkin
With points in four straight, you can feel Ovechkin starting to turn it on.

Projected Goaltenders:
NYR- Henrik Lundqvist (2010/11 stats: 20-12-3, 2.17 GAA)
WSH- Michal Neuvirth (2010/11 stats: 18-9-4, 2.45 GAA)

Injury Report:
NYR- Marian Gaborik (concussion, out), Marc Staal (knee, doubtful), Chris Drury and Alexander Frolov (knee, out), Ruslan Fedotenko (appendectomy, out), Derek Boogaard (concussion, out)
WSH- Nicklas Backstrom (thumb, probable), Mike Green (ear, probable), Eric Fehr (shoulder, out), Tom Poti (groin, out)

Game Thoughts:
Washington returns home after a road trip where they went 3-2, including a shutout win in Pittsburgh earlier this week. They’ll be facing a Rangers club that has been up and down lately, looking to secure their playoff chances. Lundqvist and company have won in D.C. once already, so I like the rested Capitals to take two points here.
Prediction: Capitals 3, Rangers 1

San Jose Sharks @ Calgary Flames
9:00 ET… TV: Local Networks

Overall: Sharks (35-21-6) … Flames (31-23-8)
Last Ten: Sharks (8-2-0) … Flames (6-2-2)
Away/Home: Sharks (20-11-3) … Flames (18-10-3)
Season Series: Tied 1-1

Players to watch:
SJ- Patrick Marleau
Marleau has scored some big goals lately, including the OT winner in Pittsburgh.
CGY- Olli Jokinen
In his last 10 games, Jokinen has 13 points.

Projected Goaltenders:
SJ- Antti Niemi (2010/11 stats: 22-15-3, 2.43 GAA)
CGY- Miikka Kiprusoff (2010/11 stats: 27-20-4, 2.60 GAA)

Injury Report:
SJ- Scott Nichol (upper body, questionable), Kent Huskins (undisclosed, questionable), Antero Niittymaki (lower body, out)
CGY- Adam Pardy (upper body, out), Daymond Langkow (neck, out), Raitis Ivanans (concussion, out)

Game Thoughts:
San Jose will look to continue their great play tonight in Calgary. Todd McLellan’s gang is 10-2-0 since the All-Star break, jockeying for the Pacific Division lead. The Flames need to rebound after a loss to Boston on Tuesday to keep pace in the West. The Sharks usually aren’t fazed in Calgary, and I think they’ll grab the win tonight.
Prediction: Sharks 4, Flames 2

The rest of tonight’s predictions:
Hurricanes over Penguins
Coyotes over Blue Jackets
Sabres over Senators
Thrashers over Panthers
Devils over Lightning
Blues over Oilers
Wild over Ducks

Morning Links:
Puck Daddy… Justin Bourne talks about what it’s like for a new guy in the room following a trade.
CBC… Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts piece for this week.
Pro Hockey Talk… Joe Yerdon take a look at the latest round of Brad Richards rumors.
NHL Auction… Here’s your chance to bid on a Minnesota Wild camouflage jersey they wore in warm-ups recently. Money goes to a great cause!

Video of the Day