News: Jack Skille scored his fifth goal of the season in Saturday's win over the Blackhawks. Analysis: Jack Skille now has five goals and six points in 28 games, to go with a minus-7 rating. Skating on the third line, the 27-year-old appears destined to reach the 10-goal mark for the first time in his career. Not known as a key offensive contributor, Skille should only be owned in the deepest of leagues.
News: Patrick Sharp sniped his fifth goal of the season and recorded a game-high seven shots on goal in Saturday's loss to Columbus. Analysis: A dominant outing from Patrick Sharp, who has now collected two goals in his past three games, recording 14 shots on goal in that span. Sharp may currently be skating on the third line, but he is playing on the top power-play unit and will likely be moved back into the top-six soon. The 32-year-old has put 12 points in 19 games on the season, making him a reliable fantasy option on a Hawks team sitting second in the Western Conference.
News: Sergei Bobrovsky was outstanding Saturday against Chicago, stopping 39 of 41 shots in regulation, before denying eight of nine Blackhawks' shooters in the shootout for a 3-2 victory. Analysis: After allowing five goals in a loss to Washington Thursday, Sergei Bobrovsky got right back on track Saturday, shutting down a Blackhawks team that had won 10 of their last 11 games. The 26-year-old has now won eight of his last nine game, with Thursday's loss to Washington marking the only time in December the Russian has allowed more than three goals in a game. He's an automatic roll every night he gets the call.
News: Corey Crawford returned to action Saturday, stopping 17 of 19 shots in regulation, before losing in a shootout to the Blue Jackets. Analysis: It wasn't a bad outing for Corey Crawford, who stood out in the shootout, allowing only two goals on nine attempts. The 29-year-old is now 12-5-2 on the season with a .927 save percentage and 1.87 GAA. Now that he's healthy, Crawford needs to be in your lineup every night he's in action, as the Blackhawks are one of the league's best teams, sitting second in the Western Conference with 46 points.
News: Derick Brassard (illness) will play Saturday against the Hurricanes, Andrew Gross of The Record reports. Analysis: Coach Alain Vigneault signed off on Derick Brassard's return after he was able to take part in the team's morning skate. The center missed the Rangers' last two contests with the mumps virus.
News: Ryan Carter (upper body) was activated from injured reserve Saturday, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Analysis: After missing the Wild's previous three games, Ryan Carter was cleared to return after practicing Friday. He'll be reinserted on the fourth line for Saturday's game against the Predators.
News: Jonathan Quick led the Kings on to the ice for pregame warmups and will thus get the start Saturday against the Coyotes, Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Analysis: Jonathan Quick will likely be a heavy favorite to come away with the victory against a Coyotes squad that has lost eight of its last 10 games, with its lone two wins during that stretch coming against the sad-sack Oilers. The netminder hasn't been particularly sharp lately, so this should represent a good bounce-back opportunity for him.
News: Matt Cooke (hip) was activated from injured reserve Saturday and will suit up against the Predators, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Stat Tribune reports. Analysis: He'll replace Justin Fontaine in the lineup, joining Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter on the Wild's third line. Matt Cooke last played on Oct. 28 before missing the last 22 games with a hip flexor.
News: Jonas Hiller will get the start in net Saturday, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports. Analysis: Jonas Hiller and the Flames have hit the skids in December, as Calgary has lost seven straight and Hiller has lost six in a row. Until they right the ship, Hiller should be avoided, especially with his mates giving him a grand total of four goals combined in his last four outings.
News: Jake Allen will be between the pipes Saturday against the Sharks, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: Things have started to turn ugly for Jake Allen here in December, despite the fact that he's won each of his last three starts. He's posted a horrid .884 save percentage in five outings this month, which has resulted in him yielding more work to Martin Brodeur than anticipated. Still, with a powerful offense and strong defense supporting him, the wins should keep coming rather steadily for the struggling netminder.