Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 1/24/12
The Morning After:
Yesterday’s results:
Maple Leafs 3, Islanders 0
Hurricanes 2, Jets 1
Red Wings 3, Blues 1
Predators 4, Blue Jackets 1
Oilers 2, Sharks 1 (SO)
Kings 4, Senators 1

RLD 3 stars of the night:
1. Jonas Gustavsson, TOR (25 saves, shutout)
2. Devan Dubnyk, EDM (44 saves)
3. Mike Fisher, NSH (2 goals)
---

Tonight’s slate:
Sabres @ Devils, 7:00 ET
Maple Leafs @ Islanders, 7:00
Jets @ Rangers, 7:00
Bruins @ Capitals, 7:00
Blue Jackets @ Lightning, 7:30
Flyers @ Panthers, 7:30
Penguins @ Blues, 8:00
Predators @ Blackhawks, 8:30
Ducks @ Stars, 8:30
Wild @ Avalanche, 9:00
Sharks @ Flames, 9:00
Senators @ Coyotes, 9:00
Oilers @ Canucks, 10:00

Game of the night:
Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks
8:30 ET… TV: Local Networks

Records:
Overall: Predators (29-16-4) … Blackhawks (29-14-6)
Away/Home: Predators (13-9-1) … Blackhawks (19-5-4)
Last 10: Predators (8-2-0) … Blackhawks (5-3-2)
Season Series: Tied 1-1

Starting goaltenders:
NSH- Pekka Rinne (2011-12 stats: 27-11-4, 2.39 GAA)
CHI- Corey Crawford (2011-12 stats: 18-11-4, 2.88 GAA)

Injury report:
NSH- Francis Bouillon (upper body, questionable)
CHI- Jonathan Toews (upper body, out), Patrick Sharp (hand, out), Dan Carcillo (knee, out)

Three things to watch:
1. Pekka Rinne’s hot streak
Nashville head coach Barry Trotz is leaving the decision up to Rinne whether he wants to play tonight. With the way he has played recently, and with six days of rest on the horizon, why wouldn’t he want to play in this big game? Rinne, who has won a franchise-best eight in a row, is 11-1-0 in his last 12 games, sporting a 1.65 GAA in that time. He’s looking the $7 million goaltender the Preds signed him to be back in November.
2. Captain Toews out of the lineup
In the last meeting between these two teams on Saturday, the Blackhawks lost Jonathan Toews to an upper-body injury. The captain won’t play tonight, which is obviously a blow to their lineup. Toews is in the thick of the MVP race heading into the All-Star Game, an event he now will not partake in. Dave Bolland will see his role increase tonight in Toews’ absence.
3. Central Division implications
As I said yesterday, the Central Division is undoubtedly the best division in hockey. They possess four of the top five teams in the West, points-wise. The Blackhawks (and St. Louis) are three points behind division-leading Detroit; the Predators are five points back. All of these head-to-head games down the stretch, including tonight’s in Chicago, will have two big points on the line.

Final thought: This should be a good test for both sides. How will the ‘Hawks respond without their leader? Will the Preds have enough juice to grind out a win? I think this game will come down to special teams and goaltending, and Nashville has a big edge in both categories right now. Prediction: Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)

The rest of today’s predictions:
Sabres over Devils
Islanders over Maple Leafs
Rangers over Jets
Capitals over Bruins
Lightning over Blue Jackets
Panthers over Flyers
Blues over Penguins
Ducks over Stars
Avalanche over Wild
Flames over Sharks
Senators over Coyotes
Canucks over Oilers
---

Five must-read links:
- Puck Daddy: Tim Thomas skips Obama White House event; why he shouldn’t be demonized for it
- ESPN Boston: Tim Thomas put himself above team
- Globe and Mail: Time has come for Maple Leafs to strike
- Washington Examiner: Will Ovechkin still participate in NHL’s All-Star weekend?
- Preds On The Glass: Goo-Goo Game Winner by Mike Fisher Leads Predators to 4-1 Win
---

Video of the day:


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