News: Derick Brassard (illness) will play Saturday against the Hurricanes, Andrew Gross of The Record reports. Analysis: Coach Alain Vigneault signed off on Derick Brassard's return after he was able to take part in the team's morning skate. The center missed the Rangers' last two contests with the mumps virus.
News: Ryan Carter (upper body) was activated from injured reserve Saturday, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Analysis: After missing the Wild's previous three games, Ryan Carter was cleared to return after practicing Friday. He'll be reinserted on the fourth line for Saturday's game against the Predators.
News: Jonathan Quick led the Kings on to the ice for pregame warmups and will thus get the start Saturday against the Coyotes, Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Analysis: Jonathan Quick will likely be a heavy favorite to come away with the victory against a Coyotes squad that has lost eight of its last 10 games, with its lone two wins during that stretch coming against the sad-sack Oilers. The netminder hasn't been particularly sharp lately, so this should represent a good bounce-back opportunity for him.
News: Matt Cooke (hip) was activated from injured reserve Saturday and will suit up against the Predators, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Stat Tribune reports. Analysis: He'll replace Justin Fontaine in the lineup, joining Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter on the Wild's third line. Matt Cooke last played on Oct. 28 before missing the last 22 games with a hip flexor.
News: Jonas Hiller will get the start in net Saturday, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports. Analysis: Jonas Hiller and the Flames have hit the skids in December, as Calgary has lost seven straight and Hiller has lost six in a row. Until they right the ship, Hiller should be avoided, especially with his mates giving him a grand total of four goals combined in his last four outings.
News: Jake Allen will be between the pipes Saturday against the Sharks, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: Things have started to turn ugly for Jake Allen here in December, despite the fact that he's won each of his last three starts. He's posted a horrid .884 save percentage in five outings this month, which has resulted in him yielding more work to Martin Brodeur than anticipated. Still, with a powerful offense and strong defense supporting him, the wins should keep coming rather steadily for the struggling netminder.
News: Antti Niemi will be between the pipes Saturday night against the Blues, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. Analysis: Antti Niemi will take aim at his seventh straight victory Saturday, though he hasn't been as consistently sharp as the winning streak would suggest. During that stretch, he's surrendered three goals or more on three occasions, but did manage to capture his second shutout of the season. He'll have his work cut out for him against the Blues, who rank sixth in the NHL in goals and fifth in shot attempts per game.
News: Josh Jooris will be a game-time decision Saturday against the Canucks due to a foot injury, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet.ca reports. Analysis: Josh Jooris took a hard shot off the foot in Friday's loss to the Stars and was sporting a walking boot Saturday morning, but coach Bob Hartley said that he's still counting on the forward to suit up later in the evening. Since becoming a popular waiver wire pickup following his Dec. 2 hat trick against the Coyotes, Jooris has gone ice cold, contributing just one point in his last eight games.
News: Christian Ehrhoff (lower body) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Analysis: With the Penguins already ruling out the blueliner until after the Christmas break, his placement on injured reserve doesn't really qualify as much of a surprise. He won't be eligible for activation until Dec. 29, though his return could be pushed back further if he fails to progress as rapidly as the Penguins hope. Top prospect Derrick Pouliot was recalled from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a corresponding move and could make for an intriguing replacement option for Christian Ehrhoff.
News: Nikita Nikitin (back) resumed skating with the Oilers on Saturday, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports. Analysis: Nikita Nikitin's participation with the team gives him a shot at playing Sunday against the Stars, but it's more likely that the Oilers will want to see him practice one or two more times before activating him. The rearguard wasn't especially impressive prior to suffering the injury and may not be guaranteed a regular lineup spot upon his return.