News: Matt Cooke (hip flexor) has begun skating without full gear this week, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Analysis: Matt Cooke has missed the last 12 games with the ailment and appears set to sit out several more contests, since he'll some time to make up for the lost conditioning work. Nonetheless, the Wild seem to be encouraged that he's at least back on the ice after he had failed to make much progress with his recovery over the last couple weeks.
News: David Booth (foot) has been activated from injured reserve in advance of Wednesday's game against the Penguins, James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail reports. Analysis: David Booth will make his Leafs debut Wednesday after the broken foot cost him nearly eight weeks of action. He figures to slot in among the Leafs' bottom-six forwards this season, which won't allow him to gain much traction in fantasy circles.
News: Joffrey Lupul (hand) was taken off injured reserve in preparation for his return Wednesday versus the Penguins, James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail reports. Analysis: The broken hand cost Joffrey Lupul approximately four weeks, but lengthy absences aren't new for the forward at this stage of his injury-riddled career. Though his track record suggests he'll miss time later on this season due to another injury, Lupul has been a productive player when he's been able to suit up. He collected two goals in his first nine games this season before suffering the broken hand.
News: Brandon Dubinsky (abdomen) is not expected to be ready to play in either of the Blue Jackets' games over the weekend, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: Brandon Dubinsky first returned to the ice Monday following a recent setback in his recovery from abdominal surgery, so he'll still need several more practices to get back up to full speed. The Blue Jackets have dealt with a number of lengthy absences due to injury this season, but few have been more significant than Dubinsky's. While not an elite scorer, Dubinsky is sound in just about every phase of the game and will represent a welcome addition to Columbus' top-six once he's healthy.
News: Coach Ken Hitchcock announced after Wednesday's practice that Brian Elliott is considered week-to-week with a suspected knee sprain, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports. Analysis: Though Brian Elliott will miss multiple games as a result of the injury sustained Tuesday night, he appears to have avoided a more serious issue, as the Blues determined surgery won't be necessary. Still, the week-to-week timetable will make it tough to pin down an expected return date for the netminder. Jake Allen is expected to carry the load for the Blues as the No. 1 netminder and should make for an upper-tier fantasy option in the interim now that he won't have to share duties with Elliott.
News: Darcy Kuemper was pulled after giving up four goals in the first period of Wednesday's loss to the Kings. Niklas Backstrom replaced him and stopped all 12 shots he faced in two periods. Analysis: Kuemper didn't get much help from his defense, so his poor outing may not change the mix at goaltender. Niklas Backstrom still mostly gets starts in back-to-back games and should get a start either Friday or Saturday.
News: Darcy Kuemper was pulled after the first period in Wednesday's loss to the Kings after giving up four goals on ten shots. Analysis: Niklas Backstrom replaced him and stopped all 12 shots he faced in two periods. Darcy Kuemper didn't get much help from his defense as two goals came on two-on-one opportunities, so he may not see any decrease in playing time from his off night.
News: Jonathan Bernier allowed four goals on 26 shots in Wednesday's overtime loss to the Pens. Analysis: Jonathan Bernier continues to struggle early in games to give the Leafs some confidence to build on. The Pens scored just 26 seconds into the game which saw the Leafs fall back on their heels. After the first period, Bernier picked up his game and made some key saves on odd man rushes to at least give the Leafs a fighting chance to win the game. The loss gives Bernier a 7-5-3 record with a .915 save percentage and a 2.63 GAA which is 19th and 25th in the league. With the Leafs not playing until Saturday, expect Bernier to be thrown back in between the pipes when they take on the Caps. Randy Carlyle has yet to ride Bernier but because of the recent struggles of James Reimer, this could be Bernier's time to put up or shut up.
News: Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 of 27 shots to propel the Pens to a 4-3 overtime win against the Leafs on Wednesday. Analysis: This was not one of Marc-Andre Fleury's best games statistically this season, but he was able to make the big saves when he needed to and gave the Pens the opportunity to win the game in overtime. The win ties him for 3rd in the NHL with 13 on the season. He is still leading the league in shutouts with four and has not shown any signs of slowing down. Fleury has always been an outstanding regular season goalie who will compete for the most wins in the league, so consider him a must start every night, until the playoffs.
News: Blake Comeau potted a hat trick Wednesday in Pittsburgh's 4-3 overtime win against Toronto. Analysis: He also led the team with five hits and four shots. Blake Comeau appears to have found a home with Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz. The fact that he was on the ice in overtime with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang shows the level of trust coach Mike Johnston has in the journeyman. Comeau now has eight goals and 13 points in 20 games for the Pens.