News: Antti Niemi will be in the net Thursday against the Wild, Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com reports. Analysis: After impressive back-to-back showings in wins over the Ducks and Avalanche, Antti Niemi has begun to create some separation from Alex Stalock in the goalie timeshare. He'll make his third consecutive start Thursday and could further entrench himself as the Sharks' No. 1 goalie if he's able to outplay the Wild's Darcy Kuemper, who has been one of the league's best netminders over the season's first month.
News: John Gibson will be in goal Thursday against the Blues, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Analysis: Though Frederik Andersen has been spectacular as the Ducks' nominal No. 1 goalie this season, coach Bruce Boudreau remains committed to playing John Gibson at least semi-regularly in order to give the 21-year-old some meaningful development time. As such, Gibson will start for the third time in four games on the heels of his shutout of the Blackhawks on Tuesday. Andersen probably would have received Thursday's start if it wasn't the front end of a back-to-back, so he'll more than likely start Friday in Dallas and while continuing to maintain the larger portion of the timeshare. In any event, no matter if it's Andersen or Gibson in the crease for the Ducks on a given night, either netminder should represent an ideal fantasy option.
News: Paul Stastny (upper body) was on the ice for Thursday's morning skate and appears on track to play against the Ducks, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports. Analysis: Paul Stastny skated as the second-line right wing, suggesting the Blues plan on having him available later in the evening. He hasn't been officially activated from injured reserve just yet, but an announcement could come in the hours leading up to the game. Stastny's return to the lineup would be a boon for the Blues regardless of the circumstances, but it would be an especially welcome development after both T.J. Oshie and David Backes were diagnosed with concussions and ruled out indefinitely earlier in the day.
News: The Wild assigned Stu Bickel to AHL Iowa on Thursday. Analysis: Stu Bickel, who did not appear in a game after being recalled Tuesday, was removed from the roster to open a spot for Stephane Veilleux.
News: The Wild recalled Stephane Veilleux from AHL Iowa on Thursday. Analysis: Stephane Veilleux will jump right into the lineup and replace Stu Bickel on the roster. Veilleux, who appeared in 34 games with the Wild last season, did not record a point in seven games with Iowa during the current campaign.
News: Ondrej Pavelec will be between the pipes for Thursday's game against the Devils, according to Tom Gulitti of The Record. Analysis: Ondrej Pavelec will be looking for his third straight win, and fourth in five starts, Thursday night. He will face a Devils squad that has not scored more than three goals in a game since they did so in their first two games of the season.
News: T.J. Oshie has been diagnosed with a concussion and is out indefinitely, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Analysis: T.J. Oshie didn't take part in Wednesday's optional practice, but there was no indication that he suffered any sort of injury a day earlier in the game against Dallas. However, after a later evaluation from the team's medical staff confirmed the concussion, Oshie faces an uncertain return date, given the volatile timetables the head injury can bring. Coach Ken Hitchcock also acknowledged Oshie had "something else going on as well," perhaps alluding to the bacterial disease that has been spreading around the Blues' locker room the last couple of weeks.
News: David Backes has been diagnosed with a concussion and is considered out indefinitely, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Analysis: As the Blues feared when David Backes hit his head hard on the ice Tuesday night, the captain suffered a concussion and will now be subjected to the league protocol. Coach Ken Hitchcock also said T.J. Oshie was out indefinitely with a concussion sustained Tuesday night, depriving the Blues of two of their top-line stalwarts. While Backes doesn't have an exhaustive list of concussions on his career ledger, the head injury certainly isn't foreign to him, making it tough to project how soon he may be able to return to the ice.
News: Kevan Miller (upper body) will resume skating Monday, Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe reports. Analysis: It's not clear how much longer Kevan Miller will be sidelined, but head coach Claude Julien said his recovery is "on track."
News: Darcy Kuemper will be in the crease Thursday against the Sharks. Analysis: Darcy Kuemper played by far his worst game of the season his last time out Monday against the Rangers, allowing five goals in the third period to suffer his second defeat of the season. The uncharacteristically ugly game aside, Kuemper has been one of the league's top netminders over the season's first month, accruing a 1.51 GAA and .934 save percentage over six outings. Those strong numbers should be enough to make him a viable fantasy play against a quality Sharks squad.