News: Brendan Gallagher scored his 18th goal of the season and went plus-1 in Thursday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Kings. Analysis: Brendan Gallagher is enjoying life since his move to the top line -- that's the place to be for a Canadien forward. He has nine points (five goals, four assists) in the last eight games.
News: Zack Smith (wrist) has been cleared to take full contact in practices, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports. Analysis: While an injured player's participation in a full-contact practice would typically signal a forthcoming return, the Senators aren't quite certain when or if Zack Smith will play again this season. His biggest obstacle remaining might be to regain stretch in the wrist to shoot and maneuver with the puck, but there's no clear timetable on how long that might take. Smith shouldn't be viewed as day-to-day quite yet.
News: Jonas Hiller is slated to draw the start in goal Friday against the Red Wings. Analysis: Jonas Hiller appears to have surrendered the No. 1 goalie gig to Karri Ramo at least for the time being, but he'll draw the nod Friday after Ramo took the net a night earlier. A 19-17-3 record and 2.46 GAA have put Hiller decidedly in the middle tier of fantasy goalies this season, making him attractive primarily against weaker opponents. Hiller won't be afforded a cushy matchup with the Red Wings, who rank seventh in the league in scoring.
News: Ryan Suter picked up a secondary assist in Thursday's 2-1 win over the Capitals. Analysis: Ryan Suter had gone the previous eight games without a point, so the helper was sorely needed. The veteran defenseman is averaging 29:11 of ice time per game, which ranks second in the NHL behind defenseman Drew Doughty of the Kings. It must be discouraging for Suter's fantasy owners that he's doing so little with heavy ice time, but he's a proven commodity and not someone you want to give up on.
News: Anton Khudobin has been confirmed as the starter in goal for Friday's game against the Wild. Analysis: Anton Khudobin will get a second crack at the Wild after he was bombed for five goals on 23 shots a few weeks ago. The goalie was able to spin his first shutout of the season in his last start against the Capitals, but that shouldn't necessarily be taken as an indicator of his performance to come. He's been merely adequate for much of the season with the Hurricanes, going 7-11-3 with a 2.61 GAA and a .905 save percentage. Moreover, Khudobin will have the tough task of trying to outduel Devan Dubnyk, who has gone 17-3-1 over his 22 starts with the Wild.
News: Mark Stuart left Friday's practice after taking a puck to the face, CBC's Jeff Hamilton reports. Analysis: The extent of the injury is thus far unclear, and the Jets won't play until Saturday in Nashville. Mark Stuart has not registered a point since January.
News: Filip Forsberg set up the Predators' game-tying goal in an eventual 4-3 loss to the Islanders on Thursday. Analysis: Filip Forsberg had been held without a point in the Preds' previous four games, which goes down as his longest drought of the season. It's probably not coincidental that Forsberg's recent struggles have mirrored those of his team, who have since ceded the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference standings to the Ducks. In addition to not scoring over that four-game stretch, Forsberg further compounded the issue by going minus-7. Forsberg still has impressive numbers for the season (21 goals, 53 points, plus-14 rating), but it wouldn't be a surprise if the rookie's production remained a little more muted the rest of the way.
News: Mike Ribeiro notched his 13th goal of the season in Thursday's loss to the Islanders. Analysis: Mike Ribeiro was able to get a forearm on Ryan Ellis' point shot with 10 minutes remaining in the third period, which ended up deflecting into the net to cut the Preds' deficit to one goal. Though the tally was fluky in nature, it still allowed Ribeiro's bounce-back season to rage on. The center has 13 goals and 40 assists over 66 games.
News: Chris Higgins tallied his eighth goal of the season in Thursday's shootout loss to the Canucks. Analysis: Chris Higgins ran the give-and-go with teammate Jannik Hansen to perfection, cutting the Canucks' deficit to one goal with under eight minutes remaining in the third period. The Canucks would get the equalizer in the final minute of the period before falling in the shootout, where Higgins' third-round misfire gave the Coyotes the victory. Though he wasn't able to come through in the clutch, Higgins at least extended his point streak to three games, tying his second-longest scoring run of the season.
News: Mikael Backlund picked up an assist in a 4-3 shootout victory against Boston on Thursday. Analysis: Mikael Backlund is having a strong season with 19 points in 34 games, and has three points in his last three games. If you need a fill-in, Backlund is in the midst of a nice streak.