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: Jeff Skinner scored in Thursday's 4-2 win over Carolina, giving him three goals and an assist in the last four games, while putting 13 shots on goal. Analysis: Jeff Skinner had 13 of Carolina's 55 shots in the win and he's been rather active of late as the Canes attempt to stay relevant in the playoff race. Skinner has seen some barren stretches this season, but when he binges, he delivers.
News: Cam Ward stopped all but two of the 23 shots he faced in Thursday's 4-2 win over Buffalo, his second win in as many starts. Analysis: Cam Ward didn't have to do much considering how Carolina dominated the game in terms of shots on goal and faceoff wins (47-17), but he did enough to allow Carolina to win the game. Ward has been playing solid hockey since his name was thrown around on trade deadline day, allowing just four goals in the last three games.
News: Drew Stafford scored one of Buffalo's two goals in Thursday's 4-2 loss to Carolina, giving him a goal in each of the last three games. Analysis: Drew Stafford has been one of the bright spots for Buffalo since the trade deadline, potting a goal in each of the last three games. Stafford is going to see scoring chances and he's played heavy minutes of late, with Thursday's game being the first time in four games he hadn't skated over 21:40.
News: Tyler Ennis scored one of Buffalo's two goals in Thursday's loss to Carolina, opening the game's scoring on a penalty shot. He has a point in each of his last three games. Analysis: Tyler Ennis hasn't scored in a while, as his pace slowed a bit following the Matt Moulson jettisoning. Hopefully the penalty shot goal can get him going a bit, but the team will need one of its best offensive players to contribute a bit more than he has been in terms of scoring goals.
News: Michal Neuvirth allowed three goals on 54 shots in Thursday's 4-2 loss to Carolina in his second start since being acquired from Washington on trade deadline day. Analysis: Carolina added an empty-netter late. Michal Neuvirth has faced 98 shots in his first two games for the Sabres, almost 50 per start. While the Caps typically allowed more than their share of shots against, it won't be as many as he sees in Buffalo. Given that Buffalo is a team in flux, Neuvirth is not the safest of options, especially considering the Sabres have given Jhonas Enroth the nods of late.
News: Lauri Korpikoski scored Phoenix's lone goal in Thursday's loss to Boston, giving him a point in each of the last two games. Analysis: Lauri Korpikoski has two goals in the last five games and nine on the season. Look for him to chip in occasionally offensively, but not to the point where owners can rely on offensive production from him.