News: Vladimir Tarasenko picked up an assist in a loss to the Kings on Thursday to extend his point streak to seven games. He was plus-1 and added three shots and four hits in the contest. Analysis: It seemed impossible that Vladimir Tarasenko would keep pace with his 17 point November, but he has now registered 11 points this month to move into the top five in the scoring race with 37. The young Russian seems to be making the leap into the upper echelons of NHL players.
News: Brandon Davidson was reassigned to AHL Oklahoma City on Friday. Analysis: Brandon Davidson appeared in four games during his stint with the Oilers, recording no points, eight hits and three blocked shots. Now that Oscar Klefbom appears to be healthy after playing in Thursday's game, Davidson's services are no longer needed.
News: David Backes scored a power-play goal, his eighth overall, Thursday in a loss to the Kings. He added a minus-2 rating, two hits and a blocked shot in the contest. Analysis: David Backes now has points in three of his last four games to raise his season total to 15 points in 31 games. His performance has been underwhelming this season, so a hot streak is welcome.
News: Jhonas Enroth will be in the crease Saturday against the Avalanche, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports. Analysis: Jhonas Enroth was given a rest in favor of backup Michal Neuvirth on Tuesday, but he'll back in action Saturday looking to extend his winning streak to four games. His offense has bailed him out in his last two turns, but by and large, Enroth has been outstanding since mid-November. For the moment, the Sabres no longer look like pushovers they appeared to be in the season's first month.
News: Kevin Shattenkirk scored his fifth goal of the season on the power play Thursday in a loss to the Kings. He had 7 PIM, two shots, one hit, and three blocked shots on the night. Analysis: Kevin Shattenkirk is on fire with 10 points in his last six games. He is having a phenomenal year ranking second on the team and among defensemen in scoring to date while adding a plus-14 rating. He is a stud.
News: Karri Ramo (illness) rejoined the Flames for their optional skate Friday, NHL.com's Aaron Vickers reports. Analysis: With the Flames choosing not to recall an extra goalie from AHL Adirondback, it indicates Karri Ramo is considered healthy and should be ready to back up Jonas Hiller for Friday's game against the Stars. Barring any unforeseen setback with his illness, look for Ramo to get the start for the second game of the Flames' back-to-back Saturday in Vancouver.
News: Jori Lehtera scored his first goal since November 15 on Thursday in a loss to the Kings. He registered two shots and a hit in the game. Analysis: Jori Lehtera is having a great rookie season with 25 points in 31 games, but his pace scoring has slowed in December - he has four points in eight games this month. He is still playing with phenom Vladimir Tarasenko, which means that he will continue to see the score sheet for the rest of the season.
News: Dainius Zubrus (leg laceration) skated on his own Friday morning, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: Dainius Zubrus remains on IR and will again sit out Friday's game against the Lightning, but the team does appear to consider him day-to-day in his recovery. He may need to get in a practice or two with the rest of the team before he's formally activated.
News: Lars Eller (upper body) skated on the third line at Montreal's practice on Friday. Analysis: Despite being activated from injured reserve Thursday, Lars Eller ended up serving as a scratch for the contest after taking part in warmups. With the demotion of Eric Tangradi back to AHL Hamilton on Friday, it looks like Eller will rejoin the lineup Saturday versus the Senators. He last played Dec. 5 against the Blackhawks before having to depart early with the injury.
News: Tyler Johnson, who is questionable to play Friday against the Devils, wasn't present for the team's optional morning skate, Darren Rosen of NHL.com reports. Analysis: Tyler Johnson's absence from morning skate wouldn't seem to bode well for his chances of playing Friday, but the Lightning are still considering him a game-time decision. Ondrej Palat (lower body) is set to return to the lineup Friday, so he'd likely be plugged back into the Bolts' top-six if Johnson can't play.