News: Nikita Nikitin (upper body) is doubtful for Saturday's game against the Predators but may be able to return for Monday's game against the Stars. Analysis: Nikita Nikitin sustained an upper-body injury during Thursday's game and was not able to return to that contest. He traveled with the Blue Jackets to Nashville and is considered day-to-day.
News: Antti Niemi is expected to start Saturday's game against the Canadiens, David Pollak of the Mercury News reports. Analysis: Antti Niemi has struggled lately, posting an .887 save percentage over his last five games. While it's something to keep in mind, the Finnish netminder has a long history of success and figures to get back on track sooner rather than later.
News: Jaroslav Halak will start Saturday's game against the Coyotes, CSN Washington's Rob Carlin reports. Analysis: As expected, Jaroslav Halak will make his Caps debut against the Coyotes, in a matchup between two teams grinding for wild-card spots in their respective conferences. The Slovak netminder posted a 24-9-4 record, 2.23 GAA and .917 save percentage in 40 games (38 starts) behind the stout St. Louis defense this season. He'll have a tough time maintaining those numbers behind a shaky Washington blue line that has struggled on the PK all season. It's still unclear how the playing time will be divided between Halak and Braden Holtby, but a timeshare would make sense.
News: Jordan Staal scored his 12th goal of the season during Friday's loss to the Rangers. Analysis: The goal was Jordan Staal's first in 12 games and just his third point in that span. He was ice cold just before the Olympic break and equally cold coming out of it, so hopefully this is a sign that he is ready to emerge from his slump. He now has 12 goals and 16 assists over 63 games this season.
News: Anton Khudobin stopped 40 of 43 shots during Carolina's 4-2 loss to the Rangers on Friday. Analysis: Anton Khudobin played an outstanding game Friday but could only do so much as the action stayed predominately in the Canes' end throughout the game. He's now faced 143 shots over his last four games and has allowed just 10 goals in that span. The 27-year-old Russian netminder is going to need a stronger defense in front of him so he isn't forced to take such beatings on a regular basis.
News: Carl Hagelin potted an empty-netter for his 13th goal of the season during Friday's win over Carolina. Analysis: Carl Hagelin capped off the Rangers' comeback with an easy tally and secured the victory, the Rangers' first since returning from the Olympic break. He now has 13 goals and 12 assists through 53 games this season.
News: Derek Stepan scored the game-winning goal and assisted on an earlier one as well during the Rangers' 4-2 win over Carolina on Friday. Analysis: The game-winner was part of a three-goal third period for the Blueshirts and gave them their first victory since the Olympic break. He now has 11 goals and 31 assists through 64 games this season.
News: Rick Nash scored his 20th goal of the season and assisted on another during the Rangers' 4-2 win over the Hurricanes on Friday. Analysis: Rick Nash had been held without a point and registered a minus-3 rating over the last two games, so it was good to see him get off the schnide quickly. Along with his 20 goals, he also has 11 assists, giving him 31 points in 46 games this season.
News: Alexander Sulzer (lower body) was hurt in Friday's game and will be out for one to two weeks, reports Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. Analysis: Alexander Sulzer was a depth defensemen for the Sabres and has had little impact for them on the ice. This gives a chance for some of the Sabres' young defensemen to play, and since the Sabres have been long out of playoff contention, they can afford to let Sulzer recover at a comfortable pace. His replacement is speculated to be Rostislav Klesla, recently acquired from Washington, however Klesla has yet to report to Rochester and his whereabouts isn't confirmed. Rochester would like to keep Chad Ruhwedel, Rasmus Ristolainen and Mark Pysyk for its own playoff run, even though all three have played for the Sabres this season.
News: Rostislav Klesla was assigned to the AHL following a trade from Washington, but he has yet to report for duty, reports The Olean Times Herald. Analysis: This is the second time that's happened this season - earlier in the year, Swedish forward Linus Omark refused to report to Rochester and signed a contract with Lulea HF in the Swedish Hockey League. It's too early to speculate where Rostislav Klesla is right now and why he hasn't reported to Rochester, but the 31-year-old defenseman wasn't happy with his demotion to the AHL earlier in the year. The 659-game veteran has likely seen the last of his NHL days. There is little incentive to play in the AHL or for Buffalo when there are more lucrative offers in Europe, where he can also play closer to home. Stay tuned.