News: It's possible that Steve Mason could be the starter for both of the Flyers' back-to-back contests against the Penguins this weekend, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly reports. Analysis: Coach Craig Berube wouldn't commit to Steve Mason starting both games, but with the Flyers holding just a two-point lead over the Red Wings and Devils for the final playoff spot, it may make sense to use their No. 1 goalie twice in a row if they hope to stay competitive with an elite Penguins squad. Backup Ray Emery (groin) practiced Friday and should be ready to play if needed over the weekend, but Berube would almost certainly prefer to have him ease his way back into action against a lesser team than the Penguins.
News: Coach Paul Maurice said Mark Scheifele (knee) has recovered as anticipated thus far. Analysis: Maurice was quick to rule out any sort of early return for Mark Scheifele, who is at the one week mark of a six-to-eight week recovery process. Don't expect to see him back until mid-April at the earliest, although it's equally as likely that he misses the rest of the season.
News: Ondrej Pavelec will be between the pipes Friday vs. the Rangers, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports. Analysis: Ondrej Pavelec was stellar his last time out Wednesday vs. the Canucks, but took a painful shootout loss to drop his fourth straight game. The Rangers are riding their own two-game losing streak as a team, but they still possess enough offensive talent to make life difficult for Pavelec.
News: Corey Crawford was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate and will be in the crease Friday vs. the Predators, ESPN Chicago reports. Analysis: Corey Crawford was rested in favor of backup Antti Raanta in the Blackhawks' last game, a loss to the Avalanche on Wednesday. The day off shouldn't disrupt Crawford's rhythm too much. He's won three of his last four starts, allowing exactly one goal in each of those victories.
News: Robin Lehner is expected to receive the start Saturday vs. the Canadiens, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Analysis: The Senators recalled Nathan Lawson on an emergency basis Friday, suggesting Craig Anderson is not ready to return Saturday from the collision he suffered in Monday's game and leaving Robin Lehner as the favorite to start. Lehner's production has mostly gone downhill from his impressive start to the season, and he now carries a woeful 3.05 GAA into Saturday's game.
News: James Neal has missed the Penguins' last two practices due to a concussion and is considered out indefnitely, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Analysis: James Neal previously missed nearly three weeks of action late last season with a concussion, so the Penguins will surely evaluate him carefully given his history with the head injury. The concussion comes as poor timing with the fantasy playoffs around the corner and Neal averaging over a point per game. He'll have to advance through every step of the league's protocol before receiving clearance for a return to game action.
News: Coach John Tortorella said Friday that Ryan Kesler has a sprained knee and is "out at least a couple of weeks." Analysis: Tortorella offered a bleak outlook on Ryan Kesler's status after he suffered the injury Wednesday night, and Friday's comments only seem to verify as much. Even if Kesler is healthy enough to return at some point during April, don't be surprised if the sagging Canucks choose to shut him down for the rest of the season if they find themselves further away from the Western Conference playoff picture.
News: Joey MacDonald will be in goal Friday vs. the Stars, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 The Fan reports. Analysis: It's somewhat shocking that Joey MacDonald is back with the Flames after he was run out of town following a miserable showing in Calgary earlier this season, but he found his way back after the injury to Karri Ramo and the trade of Reto Berra. MacDonald will make the first start for the Flames' back-to-back while No. 1 netminder Joni Ortio handles Saturday's duties vs. Phoenix.
News: Dougie Hamilton returned to the Bruins' lineup Thursday against the Coyotes after having been made a healthy scratch two games in a row, the Boston Herald reports. Analysis: While Dougie Hamilton returned to the lineup and saw 17:05 of ice time Thursday, Torey Krug was a healthy scratch on defense for the Bruins. With eight healthy options available, the team's game-by-game blue line configuration figures to be fluid down the stretch, a situation to track in daily formats.
News: Bracken Kearns was recalled from AHL Worcester on Friday. Analysis: The addition of Bracken Kearns gives Todd McLellan a little more lineup flexibility with Raffi Torres nursing some soreness after returning from knee surgery. Kearns had three goals and an assist in his 22 games with the Sharks earlier this season.