News: Brendan Gallagher scored his 18th goal of the season and was plus-1 in Thursday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Kings. Analysis: Brendan Gallagher is enjoying life since his move to the top line -- that's the place to be for a Canadien forward. He has nine points (five goals, four assists) in the previous eight games.
News: Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on Curtis Glencross' power play goal in Washington's 2-1 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. Analysis: The assist snaps a nine game skid where the talented Russian failed to get on the scoresheet. With the monkey of his back, hopefully the Evgeny Kuznetsov can start playing at a higher level. Keep an eye on him in the next game or two, as the renewed confidence might give him some late-season sleeper value if he can pick his game up.
News: Alex Ovechkin (lower body) took the ice for Friday's practice, but he did not stick around for long, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports. Analysis: Alex Ovechkin missed Thursday's game against the Wild, and he's seemingly in danger of missing Saturday's game against the Sabres. The Capitals may provide an update Friday afternoon, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Ovechkin come down to another game-time decision.
News: Jonathan Ericsson (undisclosed) said he is ready to play in Friday's game against the Flames, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: Jonathan Ericsson missed Thursday's practice as a precaution, but there's no indication that his undisclosed injury is anything serious. It may just have been general soreness, and he should be fine for Friday's game.
News: Jimmy Howard confirmed that he will start Friday's game against the Flames, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: Coming off a fantastic showing against the Rangers on Wednesday, Jimmy Howard draws a Calgary team that played an overtime game Thursday night. Howard hasn't lost a game in regulation since Feb. 16, and he'll be heavily favored Friday night.
News: Nathan MacKinnon has been diagnosed with a fractured foot and will be out for 6-to-8 weeks. Analysis: The injury likely ends what has been a disappointing season for Nathan MacKinnon, who had seen his scoring tail off considerably from his Calder Trophy-winning rookie campaign. It might also represent the final nail in the coffin for the Avs' fleeting playoff hopes, as the team's underwhelming offensive attack doesn't figure to improve with the removal of one of its top playmakers. The 19-year-old is still a prime piece of real estate in dynasty formats, but those in season-long leagues are best served cutting bait following the long-term injury. MacKinnon's absence should create more opportunities for youngsters Dennis Everberg and Joey Hishon to see looks on scoring lines.
News: Anton Khudobin was in the starter's crease for morning skate, ahead of Friday's game against the Wild, NHL.com's Michael Smith reports. Analysis: With Anton Khudobin and Cam Ward both receiving significant playing time of late, it wouldn't be surprising to see Khudobin get the nod, after Ward handled the last two games. Khudobin draws a tricky matchup against the red-hot Wild, though the Canes have also played pretty well recently.
News: Jordan Schroeder had four shots on goal and was on the ice for 13:57 in Thursday's win over Washington. Analysis: Jordan Schroeder was the odd man out when the Wild acquired Sean Bergenheim and Chris Stewart and was a healthy scratch Tuesday. However, Schroeder was back in the lineup with Nino Niederreiter sidelined with a lower body injury.
News: Brad Marchand notched a goal in 18:27 worth of ice time in Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Flames. Analysis: Brad Marchand, whose high-energy game has resulted in 19 goals and 35 points in 58 games to date, now has three points over his last two outings and almost made it four on Thursday, when he hit the post late in the contest, with the score at 3-3.
News: Ryan Murphy (leg) was activated from injured reserve Friday, the Hurricanes' official website reports. Analysis: Ryan Murphy, who last played in a game Feb. 4, should be back in the lineup for Friday's matchup with the Wild. The news comes as a bit of a surprise, given that Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Thursday that Murphy's return date was uncertain. The 21-year-old defenseman has seven points (one goal) and a minus-six rating through 21 appearances this season.