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: Sergei Bobrovsky allowed three goals on 27 shots in Thursday's shootout loss to San Jose. Analysis: Goalie Bob and the Jackets played a strong game against one of the Western Conference's better teams, but fell for just the second time in his last five starts. Sergei Bobrovsky remains one of the league's steadier netminders and will be in goal almost every night as Columbus battles for a playoff spot.
News: Matt Nieto scored his second goal in three games and extended a points streak to three games with a goal in Thursday's shootout win over Columbus. Analysis: This rookie is long on skill but has been a bit inconsistent this season, as rookies are wont to do. When he's seeing time with the team's top players, he tends to score more, as anyone would. Remember his name for next year, as he's been too streaky this season to rely terribly much on him, with 20 points through 53 games.
News: Cody Goloubef was reassigned to AHL Springfield on Thursday, the Blue Jackets' official website reports. Analysis: Cody Goloubef has made five appearances for the Blue Jackets this season, including just two since he was last recalled on Feb. 26. The 24-year-old former second-round pick could be back before the end of 2013-14 but otherwise figures to compete for a roster spot in camp next season.
News: Logan Couture dished out two assists in Thursday's 4-3 shootout win over Columbus, giving him five points in the last three games. Analysis: True, all five of those points have come in two games, but Logan Couture has been finding his stride nicely since returning from an injury which sidelined him a month. He remains one of San Jose's several elite forwards and has 43 points in 51 games.
News: Patrick Marleau scored twice in San Jose's 4-3 shootout win over Columbus Thursday, giving him four points in the last four games. Analysis: Patrick Marleau can still bury the puck, as his tally on San Jose's third goal showed. He's not playing far behind a point-per-game and is closing in on yet another 30-goal season. He's been streaky this season, but he still is putting up solid numbers.
News: Alex Stalock stopped 35 of 38 shots as well as all three attempts in the shootout Thursday against Columbus. Analysis: Alex Stalock had not played for three games as Antti Niemi guided San Jose to a few wins, but Stalock delivered for San Jose in a game where they were outshot. Stalock is well worth a roll in daily leagues as he seems to be taking more than his share of starts from Niemi in the weeks following the Olympics.