News: Semyon Varlamov will be in the crease for Saturday's game against the Sabres, Analysis: Semyon Varlamov was given a rare rest Thursday against the Canucks, and though backup Reto Berra was able to lead the Avs back to the win column in impressive fashion, coach Patrick Roy will turn the net back to his No. 1 goalie. While Varlamov has scuffled of late with no wins and exactly three goals allowed in each of his last three games, a matchup with by far the league's worst scoring attack in the Sabres should help the goalie get back on track.
News: Benoit Pouliot scored a goal and added an assist in Friday's 4-0 win over the Stars. Analysis: Believe it or not, Benoit Pouliot actually has 10 points in the last eight games, which is a decent amount of sizzle no matter how you spin it. He's only got 30 points on the year but has come alive of late as the Oilers wind down yet another season where they'll miss the playoffs.
News: Richard Bachman turned aside all 29 shots in a 4-0 shutout over the Stars on Friday. Analysis: Embracing the role of spoiler, Richard Bachman turned in a gem against the playoff-hopeful Stars. It was his second career shutout in what was his fifth appearance of the season, so it'll be at least mildly interesting to see if he gets an extended look in the Oilers crease with less than 10 games left on this season's docket.
News: Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 28 shots in a disappointing 4-0 loss to the Oilers on Friday. Analysis: Even if the offense in front of him would have provided some support, allowing four goals is often too tough to overcome. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for Kari Lehtonen, who has been solid of late in trying to keep the Stats in playoff contention. Dallas plays again Saturday in Vancouver, so owners will want to check in leading up to game time as to who coach Lindy Ruff hands the start to.
News: Yannick Weber scored for the third straight game Thursday, potting the lone Canucks' goal in a loss to the Avalanche. Analysis: It was the second straight game Yannick Weber had scored a power-play goal, giving him three power-play tallies on the season. He's taking on an increased role with the Canucks, as indicated by his 22:09 of ice time Thursday. Playing on the top power-play unit, the 26-year-old has now recorded a power-play point in four straight games and is up to 19 points in 57 games on the season. Lining up with Dan Hamhuis on Vancouver's second defense pairing, Weber is being counted on heavily by the Canucks right now and is worth snatching up in some deeper leagues.
News: Coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed after Friday's practice that Kevin Shattenkirk (abdominal surgery) will return to the lineup Saturday against the Blue Jackets. The Blues have officially activated him from injured reserve. Analysis: The Blues cushioned the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk a bit by acquiring Zbynek Michalek and Robert Bortuzzo at the trade deadline, but they'll welcome the All-Star's return with open arms for the stretch run. Prior to going down with the injury, Shattenkirk ranked among the league scoring leaders from the blue line, producing eight goals and 40 points in 49 games. Expect Shattenkirk to see his usual 20-plus minutes of ice time in his first game since Feb. 1.
News: Lauri Korpikoski (mouth) won't play Saturday against the Penguins, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports. Analysis: Lauri Korpikoski skipped Friday's practice due to the persistence of a swollen mouth as the result of a high stick to the face Tuesday. While he remains day-to-day with the issue, Saturday won't be his return date. Tye McGinn will likely continue to dress in his place.
News: Mike Smith will make his fifth consecutive start in net Saturday against the Penguins, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports. Analysis: Mike Smith has been faced with a barrage of shots recently, averaging 35 saves over the span. He's won each of the last two contests, and he'll look to make it a third Saturday. However, Smith will need to be up to the task, as he will take on a Penguins offense averaging 2.72 goals per game.
News: Matt Fraser (concussion) will return to the lineup Friday against the Stars. Analysis: Matt Fraser has missed the Oilers' previous four games with the concussion, which he suffered on a hit to the head from the Leafs' Nazem Kadri in a March 17 contest. Fittingly, Kadri was handed a four-game suspension for that hit, and now Fraser will rejoin the lineup after an absence of the same length. The winger is projected to skate on the Oilers' fourth line Friday alongside Luke Gazdic and Rob Klinkhammer.
News: Mark Fayne (shoulder) will not play Friday against the Stars. Analysis: Neither Mark Fayne nor Matt Hendricks (back) will be available Friday after leaving Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Avalanche with the injuries. The Oilers called up Brandon Davidson from AHL Oklahoma City on Thursday to cover for the absence of Fayne, who has compiled eight points and a minus-21 rating over 74 games this season.