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.
News: Antti Niemi will be between the pipes Saturday night against the Blues, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. Analysis: Antti Niemi will take aim at his seventh straight victory Saturday, though he hasn't been as consistently sharp as the winning streak would suggest. During that stretch, he's surrendered three goals or more on three occasions, but did manage to capture his second shutout of the season. He'll have his work cut out for him against the Blues, who rank sixth in the NHL in goals and fifth in shot attempts per game.
News: Robin Lehner made 25 saves Saturday in a 4-1 loss to Montreal. Analysis: He generally held up his side of the bargain, but his teammates didn't -- they barely mustered a chance on two power plays in the third. He is 1-2-1 in his last four starts. As good as he is, he cannot carry a team (yet). Don't take the bait -- keep him benched.