News: Jake Allen will be between the pipes Saturday against the Sharks, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: Things have started to turn ugly for Jake Allen here in December, despite the fact that he's won each of his last three starts. He's posted a horrid .884 save percentage in five outings this month, which has resulted in him yielding more work to Martin Brodeur than anticipated. Still, with a powerful offense and strong defense supporting him, the wins should keep coming rather steadily for the struggling netminder.
News: Antti Niemi will be between the pipes Saturday night against the Blues, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. Analysis: Antti Niemi will take aim at his seventh straight victory Saturday, though he hasn't been as consistently sharp as the winning streak would suggest. During that stretch, he's surrendered three goals or more on three occasions, but did manage to capture his second shutout of the season. He'll have his work cut out for him against the Blues, who rank sixth in the NHL in goals and fifth in shot attempts per game.
News: Mika Zibanejad scored his ninth goal of the season, had an assist, was credited with four shots on goal, and was a plus-3 in Friday's win over the Ducks. Analysis: An all-around great fantasy night for Mika Zibanejad, who now has 17 points in 30 games on the season. After a slow start, Zibanejad has heated up, recording six goals and 11 points in his last nine games. Skating on the second line with Bobby Ryan, the 21-year-old could hit the 25-goal mark in 2014-15, making him worthy of a look right now.
News: Erik Karlsson collected a pair of helpers in Friday's win over Anaheim. Analysis: Erik Karlsson now has points in two straight games after being held off the scoresheet in his previous three games. The 24-year-old has seven goals and 23 points in 32 games on the season, to go with a minus-12 rating. He sits second in the NHL with 124 shots on goal and is one of the best offensive defensemen in the game. Keep him rolling.
News: Kyle Turris remained red-hot on Friday, scoring a highlight-reel shorthanded goal and adding an assist in a win over the Ducks. Analysis: Kyle Turris has been lighting it up lately, riding a five-game point streak in which he has recorded three goals and seven points. With 23 points (seven goals) in 32 games, the 25-year-old is proving to be a reliable fantasy option this season. He has scored the game-winning goal in back-to-back games and has never gone more than three games without appearing on the scoresheet. His consistency and top-line role makes him worth a look right now.
News: Jesse Winchester (concussion) resumed practicing with his Avalanche teammates during their ongoing three-game road trip, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: Jesse Winchester won't be an option for the remaining two games of the trip, but it's good to see him join his mates for workouts after previously being limited to working out on his own. The winger continues to recover from a preseason concussion that has resulted in blurred vision, which may or may not still remain an issue. It will be tough to discern a clearer return date for Winchester until he starts practicing with contact and participate in line rushes.
News: Semyon Varlamov (groin) joined the Avalanche on their three-game road trip and resumed practicing Saturday, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: Semyon Varlamov won't be able to play in the remaining two games on the trip Saturday and Sunday, but does look to be bouncing back from the groin injury that's been an ongoing problem for him this season. It doesn't appear likely at this juncture that Varlamov will be ready to play when the Avs return home for a tilt with the Blues next Tuesday, as coach Patrick Roy may prefer to take advantage of the three-day break in the NHL schedule for Christmas by giving the goalie some additional rest.
News: Petr Mrazek will receive the start Sunday against the Avalanche, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: With Jimmy Howard (lower body) being ruled out until at least Tuesday after leaving Friday's loss to the Islanders with the injury, Petr Mrazek will take over as the Red Wings' top option in goal. The young netminder thrived in relief of Howard on Friday, stopping 22 of 23 shots, and has generally been dependable when called upon during his brief NHL action. He could be a worthy roster addition for those in mid-sized leagues or formats that start multiple goalies in the event that Howard ends up missing more time than the Red Wings currently anticipate.
News: Jimmy Howard (lower body) is being evaluated by team doctors Saturday, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: The Red Wings have already ruled Jimmy Howard out from being available for Sunday's tilt with the Avalanche, but GM Ken Holland said that he was still hopeful the goalie would be ready to go for Tuesday's game against the Sabres. Though the injury is not considered serious, it might be tough to count on Howard to be ready to go by that time unless he's able to practice Monday.
News: Mike Weaver (concussion) was activated from injured reserveNHL's media site. Analysis: Mike Weaver no longer seems to be feeling the effects of the concussion, but he'll serve as a healthy scratch Saturday against the Senators, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports. He could struggle to find a regular spot in the lineup for the Canadiens on a consistent basis.