News: Nick Bjugstad posted a minus-2 with one shot on goal in Thursday night's 3-0 loss to the Blackhawks. Analysis: Nick Bjugstad started February on fire with seven points in his first nine games of the month including a stretch with four goals in five games. However, the past five games have not been as kind to the 22-year-old. Bjugstad has only taken 11 shots on goal and has posted a minus-7 plus/minus, dragging his plus/minus for the season to minus-9. He still leads the team in points (36) and goals (21), but will need to regain his scoring form for the already light-scoring Panthers.
News: Jonas Gustavsson will start Saturday's game in Nashville, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: It's a bit surprising to see Jonas Gustavsson get the nod, as Detroit won't play again until Wednesday's game against the Rangers. The matchup is as tough as they come, with Nashville currently leading the race for the President's Trophy.
News: Bobby Ryan assisted on the game's lone goal in Thursday's 1-0 win over the Kings. Analysis: Bobby Ryan is working on a modest three-game point streak, which are starting to become ordinary for him in his second season in Ottawa. The Sens' leading scorer with 45 points, Ryan has been especially productive since the All-Star break. He's accumulated three goals and nine assists in his last 12 games.
News: Sergei Bobrovsky (groin) will skate on his own Saturday morning, and the Blue Jackets will then make a decision on their starter for Saturday's game against the Devils, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: The team will not skate until 5 PM, but Sergei Bobrovsky is going to work out on his own in the morning. If he doesn't make it back for Saturday's game, Bobrovsky could still start Sunday's contest in Pittsburgh.
News: Craig Smith netted his 20th goal of the season in Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Wild. Analysis: Craig Smith is on track to fall short of last year's career-high total of 52 points, but he's at least in the midst of his hottest run of production of the season. He's accumulated six goals and two assists in his last seven games, making him a trendy waiver wire addition in recent days.
News: Brian Elliott will start Saturday's game in Edmonton, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: With Brian Elliott starting Saturday night, there's a good chance Jake Allen will get the nod for Sunday's game in Vancouver. However, the Blues have yet to name a starter for that game. First, Elliott will try to make the most of a favorable matchup, facing an Edmonton team with just 46 points this season.
News: Nate Thompson (lower body) remains day-to-day, but he will not play in Friday's game against the Kings, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Analysis: Chris Wagner will center the Ducks' fourth line, working in between Tim Jackman and Patrick Maroon.
News: Brent Sopel announced his retirement from professional hockey Friday, Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago reports. Analysis: Brent Sopel last appeared in the NHL with the Canadiens in 2010-11. He had bounced around the KHL the previous three seasons before returning stateside this year, appearing in 29 games for AHL Chicago of the Blues organization. While his career had bottomed out during this decade, Sopel put together some quality seasons with the Canucks in the mid-2000s, registering a career-high 42 points in 2003-04. In addition to his stints with the Canucks and Canadiens, Sopel also spent time with the Islanders, Kings, Blackhawks, and Thrashers.
News: Victor Hedman (undisclosed) is on the ice for pregame warmups and looks like he'll be good to go for Friday's game against the Blackhawks, Bryan Burns of NHL.com reports. Analysis: Though coach Jon Cooper termed Victor Hedman as a game-time decision, but there was never much doubt in the blueliner's availability after he confirmed that he would play following the Bolts' morning skate. Hedman doesn't look to be in danger of facing any limitations Friday, so his fantasy owners should feel comfortable with keeping him active.
News: Mark Giordano (upper body) is officially being listed as a scratch for Friday's game against the Islanders, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet.ca reports. Analysis: Mark Giordano made a spirited effort to try and play Friday, but it was clear based on his activity in the pregame warmups that he was running at less than 100 percent. Rather than risk worsening the injury, the Flames will send their star blueliner to the press box, marking the first game that he'll have missed this season. Giordano's next crack at playing will come next Tuesday against the Flyers. Corey Potter replaces him in Friday's lineup.