News: Jake Dowell has been assigned to AHL Iowa. Analysis: Jake Dowell, who will return to Iowa with 17 points in 54 AHL games to date, remains a candidate for recall if the Wild require added depth up front as the playoffs progress.
News: Brenden Dillon (lower body) wasn't on the ice for morning skate Wednesday and looks like a game-time decision for Game 1 against the Ducks, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. Analysis: Brenden Dillon was considered likely to play in Game 1 as recently as two days ago, but his inability to participate in practice since that time now has him looking questionable at best. The uncertainty of his injury situation probably makes him a defenseman to avoid in playoff pools.
News: Kari Lehtonen will be in the crease for Game 1 of the Stars' first-round series with the Ducks, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. Analysis: Frankly, it would be more surprising if Kari Lehtonen didn't make the start for every game throughout the playoffs than if he did. The Stars will lean heavily on their netminder as they return to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
News: Ilya Bryzgalov is slated to start Thursday's game against the Avs, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Analysis: Ilya Bryzgalov heads into the postseason as the Wild's top netminder, with the report noting that coach Mike Yeo has yet to decide who will serve as Bryzgalov's backup for Thursday's contest.
News: While the Sharks have not named their starting goalie for Thursday's playoff opener against the Kings, Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com suggests that Antti Niemi is probably the better bet to get the nod. Analysis: The report points out that Antti Niemi -- who started five of the Sharks' last six games -- worked during special teams practice Wednesday, during which time fellow goalie Alex Stalock worked with some of the team's the lower profile players. We'll seek additional clarity on the situation after Thursday's morning skate.
News: Jan Hejda (upper body) will be in the lineup for Thursday's Game 1 against the Wild, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: The Avalanche confirmed his availability following his participation in Wednesday's practice. Expect him to rejoin Erik Johnson on Colorado's top defensive pairing.
News: Steve Downie (upper body) will not play in Game 1 of the Flyers' first-round series against the Rangers, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Analysis: It's not much of a surprise after Steve Downie was unable to take part in Wednesday's practice. Zac Rinaldo will take his spot on the Flyers' fourth line.
News: Jonathan Ericsson (finger) will resume skating on his own Thursday for the first time since undergoing surgery on his finger Mar. 19, Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily reports. Analysis: Jonathan Ericsson is not yet permitted to do any stick-handling due to the splint on his left hand, and it appears safe to rule him out for the Red Wings' first-round series against the Bruins. He's already had one of the pins in his fractured finger removed and will have the remaining three taken out in the next 10-to-14 days.
News: Joe Vitale (upper body) is expected to play Wednesday against the Blue Jackets, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: After missing the final 13 games of the regular season, Joe Vitale was back on the ice at morning skate and looks like he's check back in for duty as a bottom-six forward. Vitale finished the regular season with a goal and 13 assists over his 53 games.
News: Evgeni Malkin (foot) is expected back in the lineup for Game 1 of the Penguins' first-round series with the Blue Jackets, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: Evgeni Malkin missed the final 11 games of the regular season while nursing the foot injury, but after getting back on the ice for the last several days, he should be fully ready to contribute for the Penguins. He'll assume his usual spot as the second-line center.