News: Brandon Kozun (ankle) was sent to AHL Toronto on Friday for a conditioning assignment, Mark Masters of TSN.ca reports. Analysis: The assignment will more than likely just last through the weekend as Brandon Kozun aims to demonstrate that he's fully recovered from the high-ankle sprain he sustained in October. The 24-year-old figures to fill a bottom-six role for the Leafs upon his activation.
News: Chris Phillips (undisclosed) will return to the lineup Friday against the Panthers, Gord Wilson of TSN 1200 Ottawa reports. Analysis: Chris Phillips missed the Sens' previous three games with an unspecified ailment, but the two-day break in the schedule apparently provided enough time for him to return to full health. He'll slot back into a top-four role for the Senators, but with only two points in 16 games, he's not going to offer much upside from a fantasy perspective.
News: Viktor Fasth stopped all 24 shots he faced in the first three periods before Nashville's Filip Forsberg beat him for the winning goal in overtime Thursday night. Analysis: Viktor Fasth did an incredible job of holding serve with Pekka Rinne and the overwhelmingly-favored Predators for most of the night, but the game ended with the Oilers taking their eighth straight loss. If there's any silver lining for Fasth, it's that the sterling outing probably gives him the upper hand on the starting job for the Oilers at the moment. He hasn't been great in his last handful of starts, but the team's porous defense and tendencies to disappear offensively have been the more pressing problems during Edmonton's losing streak.
News: Filip Forsberg scored the game-winning goal in overtime to down the Oilers on Thursday. Analysis: It's the third winner of the season for Filip Forsberg, who has matured into a veritable star after mostly struggling his 13-game taste of the NHL last season. The young winger has an incredible 23 points and plus-19 rating over 22 games, providing a needed lift to a Nashville offense that was woefully short on talent last season.
News: Matt Cullen was held out of Thursday's 1-0 win over the Oilers due to an upper-body injury, the Associated Press reports. Analysis: It appeared Matt Cullen was headed for the press box after he failed to take part in the team's morning skate, but the assumption was that he was healthy. Instead, it sounds like he may have suffered the injury in Tuesday's game against the Kings, and he's now considered day-to-day as a result.
News: Pekka Rinne denied all 37 shots he faced Thursday against the Oilers en route to his second shutout of the season. Analysis: Pekka Rinne worked overtime to secure his league-leading 15th victory in what represented one of his best efforts of what has been a sensational season. The most critical of the 37 saves he made was a denial on a Jordan Eberle penalty shot in the extra period, preventing the Oilers from claiming a walk-off victory. Now healthy after battling a hip infection for most of last season, Rinne has turned the Predators from Western Conference also-ran into one of the top teams in the NHL.
News: Lars Eller and Jiri Sekac rotated in on a new power-play attack during Thursday's practice session, Hockey Inside Out reports. The Canadiens rank 25th in power-play effectiveness, so head coach Michel Therrien was looking at a different option. Analysis: Therrien had the team in a 1-3-1 lineup that featured one defenseman (P.K. Subban) and four forwards, but he's not committing to rolling out this look in games just yet.
News: Jiri Sekac and Lars Eller rotated in as part of new power-play lineup during Thursday's practice, Hockey Inside Out reports. Analysis: Head coach Michel Therrien is toying with the idea of a 1-3-1 power-play lineup, which uses one defenseman (P.K. Subban) and four forwards. Therrien said he's used such a lineup in the past, but wouldn't commit to deploying it in games yet. He wants more options for his team, which ranks 25th in power-play effectiveness.
News: Ryan McDonagh (shoulder) appears likely to return from IR to play Friday against the Flyers, Andrew Gross of The Record reports. Analysis: Out since Nov. 1 with a separated shoulder, Ryan McDonagh has been practicing since Tuesday and was paired up with regular partner Dan Girardi at Thursday's session, suggesting he'll be ready to go Friday. The Rangers won't hold a morning skate Friday due to the 1:00 p.m. ET puck drop, so McDonagh's return to lineup likely wouldn't be announced until pregame warmups.
News: Francois Beauchemin (upper body) is questionable to play Friday versus the Blackhawks, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Analysis: Francois Beauchemin hasn't been practicing since exiting Tuesday's game against the Flames with the injury. The odds would seem against him suiting up Friday, but his outlook could change if he's able to take part in the team's morning skate.