News: James Neal (undisclosed) missed his second straight practice, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Analysis: It was suspected that James Neal's failure to practice Thursday was for maintenance purposes more than anything, but his absence Friday suggests the team could be concealing an injury. Fantasy owners should prepare as if he'll play Saturday vs. the Flyers, but it wouldn't be surprise if he was announced as a scratch prior to pregame warmups.
News: Evgeni Nabokov will receive the start Friday vs. the Sharks. Analysis: Evgeni Nabokov will benefit from facing off against perhaps a fatigued, road-weary Sharks squad that beat the Blue Jackets in a shootout Thursday, but it's still difficult to trust him to deliver a quality outing. He's surrendered at least three goals in six straight starts.
News: Jaroslav Halak will start Friday vs. the Canucks. Analysis: As anticipated, Jaroslav Halak will attempt to even his record with the Capitals at 2-2 as he takes on a floundering Canucks squad.
News: Derek Morris was back in the lineup for Phoenix on Thursday playing 19:15 in a 2-1 loss to Boston. He was minus-1 on the night. Analysis: Derek Morris had sat out the previous two games in favor of Brandon Gormley. No explanation or word of an injury has been provided for his absence, so it's fair to assume that coach Dave Tippett simply was not happy with Morris' play. Wait to see if he draws in again for Saturday's game against Calgary.
News: Shane Doan had an assist on the Coyotes' lone goal Thursday in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins. Analysis: Shane Doan is playing some of his best hockey as the Coyotes push for a playoff berth - he has six points in eight games since the Olympic break. With 38 points in 54 games, Doan is having a strong bounce-back season after posting just 27 points in 48 games last year.
News: Michael Bournival (concussion) was wearing a full-contact jersey at Friday's practice, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports. Analysis: Passing through full-contact work could be the final hurdle Michael Bournival needs to clear before returning from injured reserve. While his activation might not come over the weekend, the young center seems on track to return next week if he endures no further setbacks in his recovery. He's missed the last nine games due to the concussion.
News: Friday's recall of Nathan Lawson suggests the Senators don't feel Craig Anderson will be available for Saturday's game vs. the Canadiens. Analysis: The exact nature of Craig Anderson's injury remains something of a mystery, but he apparently needs some additional recovery time. Fantasy owners need not panic about a lengthy absence yet, but if Anderson remains sidelined through next week, it may make sense to grab understudy Robin Lehner if he's still available on waivers.
News: Oliver Ekman-Larsson picked up an assist on the Coyotes' lone goal Thursday in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins. He had one shot and two hits in 29:00 of ice time. Analysis: He has points in consecutive games and seems to be raising his level of play as the 'Yotes try to reach the playoffs. Roll him with confidence.
News: Drew Doughty collected primary assists on Marian Gaborik's early-first-period goal and Anze Kopitar's late-first-period power-play marker, but that turned out to be the extent of the Kings' offense in a 3-2 loss to Toronto. Analysis: Following a cold stretch -- just a single assist in six games -- since the post-Olympic resumption of play, Drew Doughty's picked up three helpers in the last two games and seems to be getting things back on track. Fantasy owners in leagues that count hits have to be happy that he didn't let up with the physicality even when he wasn't scoring -- he's dished out 22 hots in nine games since the break.
News: Nathan Lawson was recalled from AHL Binghamton on Friday. Analysis: The move signals that the Senators don't feel Craig Anderson (undisclosed) will be ready to return to action Saturday vs. the Canadiens. Nathan Lawson will likely serve as the backup to Robin Lehner for at least one game.