News: Chris Kunitz was given practice off Thursday, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Analysis: Chris Kunitz hit his leg on the Capitals' goalpost in Tuesday's victory, but managed to stay in the game despite probably playing with some limitations. Although coach Dan Bylsma characterized Kunitz's absence from practice as a maintenance day, there's still a slight chance he could be scratched Saturday vs. the Flyers if any pain continues to linger. Fantasy owners may want to keep an eye on him the next two days just to be safe.
News: Coach Patrick Roy said he'd be "very surprised" if Paul Stastny (back) played Friday vs. the Ducks, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. Analysis: Paul Stastny has already missed the previous two games with back spasms and doesn't appeared to have made much progress in his recovery in spite of the time off. Fantasy owners should stash him on their bench until more optimism surfaces about a potential return.
News: Chad Johnson is expected to receive the start in goal Thursday vs. the Coyotes, Mike Loftus of the Patriot Ledger reports. Analysis: After Tuukka Rask got the start a night earlier for the Bruins, look for Claude Julien to give the net to Chad Johnson on Thursday, as he faces off against his former team. Johnson has gathered wins in seven of his last eight starts, including two victories earlier this month over the Panthers.
News: Peter Holland (illness) was absent from Thursday's morning skate, Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reports. Analysis: Unless Peter Holland is able to rally in the afternoon, it seems likely that he'll be out of the lineup Thursday vs. the Kings. With rosters expanding following the trade deadline, coach Randy Carlyle probably won't hesitate to give Holland the night off if he's at less than 100 percent.
News: Reto Berra has signed a three-year extension with the Avalanche, the Denver Post reports. Analysis: Expected to make his Avs debut Wednesday (March 19) against the Jets, Reto Berra gets a contract before ever suiting up for his new team. He may not see another start this season, but with Jean Sebastien-Giguere's contract expiring at the end of the campaign, Berra makes sense as the Avs' No. 2 goaltender of the future.
News: Sam Gagner (ankle) will play in Thursday's game against the Blues. Analysis: Sam Gagner missed Wednesday's practice but is apparently ready for Thursday's game. With seven points (one goal) through five March games, he's in the midst of his most productive stretch this season.
News: Brenden Morrow will sit out Thursday's home affair against the Oilers as a healthy scratch, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: The tremendous depth of the Blues affords them the luxury of resting their 35-year-old veteran. Coach Ken Hitchcock simply wants to ensure that the often banged-up Brenden Morrow is fresh for the playoffs, and stated that he plans to spot him a few more nights off before the postseason. Morrow's 59 games are the most he's played since 2010-2011 after being plagued on-and-off by back injuries, so there's definitely a method to Hitchcock's madness. Morrow has 21 points in a career-low 11:48 of ice time this season.
News: Patrik Berglund will drop from the second to third line Thursday against the Oilers, hitting the ice with Derek Roy and Steve Ott, according to Lou Korac of In The Slot. Analysis: Despite his five points in the last six games, coach Ken Hitchcock is demoting Patrik Berglund to make room for the returning Vladimir Sobotka who has missed the last 12 games with a broken kneecap. Berglund's recent productivity came primarily alongside offensively-gifted Olympians T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko, so it pains us to say that this this round of line juggling is a significant hit to his value. Temper your expectations for the young Swede as long as he's on the wrong side of the Blues' top six.
News: Torey Krug is a healthy scratch for Thursday's game against the Coyotes. Analysis: With Dougie Hamilton slotting back in, Torey Krug will be the odd man out. The Bruins have played around with their blueline rotation all season, and Krug will likely rejoin the lineup soon, given that he played in each of the B's first 65 games this season.
News: Artem Anisimov (personal) will not play in Thursday's game against the Sharks, Rob Mixer of BlueJackets.com reports. Analysis: As expected, Artem Anisimov will miss a game to attend to the birth of his child. Matt Frattin slots into the lineup Thursday, while Anisimov will likely be back for Saturday's contest against the Wild.