News: Chad Johnson will be in the crease Friday against the Capitals. Analysis: Chad Johnson will spell the red-hot Jaroslav Halak in goal, but only because the Islanders are playing the first game of a back-to-back set. The move from Boston to Long Island hasn't proven overly kind for Johnson, despite the 5-2 record he carries into Friday's contest. His 3.33 GAA and .876 save percentage rank 38th and 42nd, respectively, among the 42 qualifying goaltenders.
News: Calvin Pickard will be in the net Saturday against the Stars, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: Semyon Varlamov (groin) is making rapid progress and is targeting a return to the net Monday against the Canadiens, so Saturday's start could be Calvin Pickard's last chance to make a case for sticking with the Avs. It should be noted that coach Patrick Roy said that if Varlamov had been ready to play Saturday, Pickard wouldn't be sent back to AHL Erie, implicitly saying that Reto Berra now ranks third on the goalie depth chart. If Pickard can merely turn in a competitive showing against a strong Stars offense -- as he did during his 42-save effort versus the Blackhawks on Wednesday -- he'll likely solidify himself as the Avs' No. 2 goalie going forward.
News: Anton Khudobin is slated to start in goal Saturday against the Penguins. Analysis: Coach Bill Peters said heading into the weekend back-to-back with Pittsburgh that he would split the starts between his two goaltenders. With Cam Ward being named Friday's starter, Anton Khudobin will therefore man the net Saturday by default. Khudobin is still winless (0-4-2) over his six starts this season, producing a 2.97 GAA and .898 save percentage. It seems doubtful that he'll pick up his first victory in a matchup against the league's highest-scoring team.
News: Cody Goloubef (leg) skated with full gear Thursday, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: Cody Goloubef has been skating for several days now and seemed to be optimistic about his progress, saying after Friday's session that he'd be back "sooner rather than later." Since Goloubef suffered the injury, the Blue Jackets have added Jordan Leopold and Kevin Connauton to their blue line corps, which may not offer room for the 24-year-old to earn back a regular spot in the Columbus lineup.
News: Mike Cammalleri didn't participate during Friday's morning skate and could be nursing an injury, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports. "We're dealing with a few things that probably will be some game-time decisions," coach Pete DeBoer said after the skate. Analysis: DeBoer acknowledged that Mike Cammalleri's absence didn't necessarily indicate that he was injured, but the only other Devils skater that missed the morning session (Michael Ryder) said he was fine, which would seem to suggest Cammalleri might be concealing something. His status likely won't be known officially until pregame warmups, making the forward something of a risk in leagues with daily lineups.
News: Michael Bournival (shoulder) skated with his teammates at Friday's morning session. Analysis: Michael Bournival won't be a lineup consideration for Friday and perhaps the next several games, but he's shown tangible signs of progress in the last few days. He was able to get in some shooting a few days ago and may only need to take part in a full-contact practice or two before the Habs activate him from IR.
News: Patrick Sharp (leg) might not return by the expected Dec. 3 contest against the Blues, the Blackhawks Tweeter account reports. Analysis: Patrick Sharp could return for the Dec. 5 contest at home against Montreal. He had started practicing last week. It will be on the long end of the three-to-four week prognosis when he went down on November 4. Sharp has been durable in the past including skating in all 82 games last season. He has nine points in 13 games this season.
News: Erik Johnson (head) is likely set to play Saturday against the Stars, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: The Avalanche sent down Karl Stollery to AHL Lake Erie on Friday, indicating the team has confidence that Erik Johnson will be able to take the ice for their next game. Johnson practiced fully Friday and reported no setbacks, so he should be on tap for his usual top-pairing duties against the Stars.
News: Semyon Varlamov (groin) reported significant improvement following Friday's practice, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: Semyon Varlamov's participation in practice amounts to great news for the Avs, who have been forced to get by with the undesirable duo of Calvin Pickard and Reto Berra in goal over the last four games. It seems unlikely that Varlamov will be cleared to play in time for Saturday's game against the Stars, but there's a realistic chance that the goalie will return to the net Monday versus the Canadiens, assuming he continues to progress well.
News: John Mitchell (leg) will return to the lineup Saturday against the Stars, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: John Mitchell was a full participant in Friday's practice and was given clearance to return following a three-game absence. The forward has three goals and five points in 16 games this season.