News: Nikita Nikitin (upper body) is doubtful for Saturday's game against the Predators but may be able to return for Monday's game against the Stars. Analysis: Nikita Nikitin sustained an upper-body injury during Thursday's game and was not able to return to that contest. He traveled with the Blue Jackets to Nashville and is considered day-to-day.
News: Antti Niemi is expected to start Saturday's game against the Canadiens, David Pollak of the Mercury News reports. Analysis: Antti Niemi has struggled lately, posting an .887 save percentage over his last five games. While it's something to keep in mind, the Finnish netminder has a long history of success and figures to get back on track sooner rather than later.
News: Jaroslav Halak will start Saturday's game against the Coyotes, CSN Washington's Rob Carlin reports. Analysis: As expected, Jaroslav Halak will make his Caps debut against the Coyotes, in a matchup between two teams grinding for wild-card spots in their respective conferences. The Slovak netminder posted a 24-9-4 record, 2.23 GAA and .917 save percentage in 40 games (38 starts) behind the stout St. Louis defense this season. He'll have a tough time maintaining those numbers behind a shaky Washington blue line that has struggled on the PK all season. It's still unclear how the playing time will be divided between Halak and Braden Holtby, but a timeshare would make sense.
News: Alexander Sulzer (lower body) was hurt in Friday's game and will be out for one to two weeks, reports Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. Analysis: Alexander Sulzer was a depth defensemen for the Sabres and has had little impact for them on the ice. This gives a chance to give some of the Sabres' young defensemen to play, and since the Sabres have been long out of playoff contention, can afford to let Sulzer recover at a comfortable pace. Though his replacement is speculated to be Rostislav Klesla, recently acquired from Washington, he has yet to report to Rochester and his whereabouts aren't confirmed. Rochester would like to keep Chad Ruhwedel, Rasmus Ristolainen and Mark Pysyk for their own playoff run, even though all three have played for the Sabres this season.
News: Rostislav Klesla was assigned to the AHL following a trade from Washington, but he has yet to report for duty, reports The Olean Times Herald. Analysis: This is the second time that's happened this season - earlier in the year, Swedish forward Linus Omark refused to report to Rochester and signed a contract with Lulea HF in the Swedish Hockey League. It's too early to speculate where Rostislav Klesla is right now and why he hasn't reported to Rochester, but the 31-year-old defensemen wasn't happy with his demotion to the AHL earlier in the year. The 659-game veteran has likely seen the last of his NHL days. There is little incentive to play in the AHL or for Buffalo when there are more lucrative offers in Europe, where he can also play closer to home. Stay tuned.
News: Ryan Getzlaf was credited with two assists during a 3-2 shootout loss to the Penguins on Friday. Analysis: Despite the loss, Ryan Getzlaf continues to look like one of the top players in the league. He is now tied for the second most points in the NHL this season.
News: Brian Gibbons was scratched Friday because of a lower-body injury. Analysis: There were no specifics given as to what the injury was or how he sustained it, but it is obviously serious enough to hold him out of action. Expect the Penguins to update his condition over the weekend, but for now, consider him day-to-day.
News: HIller stopped 15 of 17 shots on goal during a 3-2 shootout loss to the Penguins on Friday. He also stopped three of six shootout shots. Analysis: Despite the loss, Jonas Hiller is still tied for the sixth most wins of any goalie in the NHL this year. It is worth noting, however, that he has now lost seven of his last 10 games.
News: Corey Perry scored his team's only two regulation goals during a 3-2 shootout loss to the Penguins on Friday. He also had a goal to extend the shootout. Analysis: Despite his team's loss, Corey Perry continues to add to his monster season. After Friday's game, he now has the second most goals and is tied for the sixth most points of any player in the NHL this season.
News: Updating a previous item: Andrew Cogliano returned to Friday's game after being helped to the locker room during the first period. Analysis: Andrew Cogliano took a hard hit and was helped to the locker room by trainers after he skated slowly back to the bench. He appears to be fine though, so no concern seems necessary.