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: Justin Faulk (upper body) did not take the ice for pregame warmups and is thus not expected to return for Thursday's game against the Sabres, Michael Smith of the Canes' official site reports. Analysis: Justin Faulk is reportedly nearing a return but will miss a fifth consecutive game Thursday. He may be an option for the Hurricanes as soon as Saturday's game against the Bruins.
News: Cam Ward led the Hurricanes onto the ice for pregame warmups Thursday, indicating that he will start against the Sabres, Michael Smith of the Canes' official site reports. Analysis: As expected, Cam Ward will make a third consecutive start, after leading the 'Canes to a 3-1 win over the Rangers on Tuesday.
News: Tuukka Rask will start Thursday's game against the Coyotes. Analysis: Tuukka Rask, who stopped 35-of-36 shots against the Candiens in Wednesday's 4-1 win, will get the nod again on Thursday, as the Bruins look for their seventh straight win.
News: Daniel Paille (concussion) skated again Thursday and is on track for a possible return to action Saturday against the Hurricanes. Analysis: Coach Claude Julien noted that so far there's been no setbacks for the winger, but in the meantime, while Daniel Paille is out, Jordan Caron will fill in for him on the B's fourth line.
News: Dougie Hamilton is back in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Coyotes. Analysis: With Dougie Hamilton slotting back in, the Bruins will presumably scratch another defenseman, with Kevan Miller looming as the most likely candidate. Hamilton has seven goals and 11 assists in 47 games this season, with 32 PIM and an impressive plus-14 rating.
News: Joni Pitkanen (heel) remains without a return timetable. Analysis: In a statement the defenseman issued Thursday, he noted that he is making progress in his rehab with the hope of resuming his career. Joni Pitkanen suffered a broken heel in a game last April vs. the Capitals and has been ruled out for the entire 2013-14 season. The club will see where he's at in his recovery during training camp, but it appears his career could be in jeopardy.