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The Daily Puck: Mighty Mason

Projected Goalie Starters

Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7:00 p.m. ET
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Washington (Michal Neuvirth), 7:00 p.m. ET
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Columbus (Steve Mason), 7:00 p.m. ET
Ottawa (Craig Anderson) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7:30 p.m. ET
New Jersey (Johan Hedberg) at Tampa Bay (Dwayne Roloson), 7:30 p.m. ET
Florida (Tomas Vokoun) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:30 p.m. ET
San Jose (Antti Niemi) at Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff), 9:00 p.m. ET
St. Louis (Ty Conklin) at Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin), 9:00 p.m. ET
Minnesota (Jose Theodore) at Anaheim (Dan Ellis), 10:00 p.m. ET

Injuries for Teams Playing Friday

Day-to-Day (Includes DL players close to returning)
Chris Kunitz (W) Pittsburgh – (Lower body) Still not practicing with the team.
Mark Letestu (C) Pittsburgh -- (Knee) Believes he is ready to play Friday and/or Saturday.
Paul Martin (D) Pittsburgh – (Back) Expected to play Friday.
Marian Gaborik (W) Rangers – (Concussion) As with all head injuries, his return is unknown.
Marc Staal (D) Rangers -- (Knee) Unlikely to play Friday.
Nicklas Backstrom (C) Washington -- (Thumb) Expected to play Friday.
Tom Poti (D) Washington -- (Groin) Doubtful to play Friday.
Mike Green (D) Washington -- (Flu) Not practicing yet, but expected to play Friday.
Ray Whitney (W) Phoenix – (Lower body) Gametime decision on Friday.
Adrian Aucoin (D) Phoenix – (Lower body) Considered day to day.
Rostislav Klesla (D) Columbus -- (Knee) Practiced in full Thursday, could play Friday.
Kristan Huselius (W) Columbus -- (Lower body) Unlikely to play Friday.
Erik Karlsson (D) Ottawa -- (Upper body) Skated in practice, could play Friday.
Sergei Gonchar (D) Ottawa -- (Lower body) Unlikely to play Friday.
Dan Boyle (D) San Jose -- (Undisclosed) Questionable to play Friday.
Saku Koivu (C) Anaheim -- (Groin) Left practice early Thursday, unlikely to play Friday.
Jonas Hiller (G) Anaheim -- (Head) Possibly suffering from vertigo, no timetable for his return.

Long Term or IR
Dustin Jeffrey (C) Pittsburgh -- (Lower body) Cleared to practice, questionable to play Friday.
Brooks Orpik (D) Pittsburgh – (Finger) Out approximately four weeks.
Ruslan Fedotenko (W) Rangers – (Appendectomy) Questionable to play Friday.
Ed Jovanovski (W) Phoenix – (Orbital bone) Out for a couple of weeks.
Pascal Leclaire (G) Ottawa -- (Lower body) Sent to the AHL on a conditioning assignment.
Fredrik Modin (W) Atlanta -- (Upper body) Likely to play Friday.
David Perron (W) St. Louis – (Concussion) May be out for the season.
Jaroslav Halak (G) St. Louis – (Hand) Traveling with the team, could play Friday or Sunday.
Guillaume Latendresse (W) Minnesota – (Groin) Practicing, but won't return until next week at the earliest.
Mikko Koivu (C) Minnesota – (Finger) Placed on IR Thursday, out at least a few weeks.

Transactions

Dan Ellis (G) Anaheim – Traded from Tampa Bay.
Curtis McElhinney (G) Tampa Bay – Traded from Anaheim.
Craig Rivet (D) Buffalo –Cleared waivers, sent to the AHL
Cory Stillman (W) Carolina – Traded from Florida.
Ryan Carter (C) Florida – Traded from Florida.
Fredrik Modin (W) Atlanta– Placed on IR.
John Grahme (G) Colorado – Re-assigned to the AHL.
Steve Bernier (W) Florida – Placed on waivers.
Nate Prosser (D) Minnesota – Recalled from the AHL.
Brent Sopel (D) Montreal – Traded from Atlanta.
Nigel Dawes (W) Montreal – Traded from Atlanta.
Ben Maxwell (C) Anaheim – Traded from Montreal.
Jeremy Colliton (W) Islanders –Re-assigned to the AHL.
Mark Katic (D) Islanders –Recalled from the AHL.
Jesse Joensuu (W) Islanders – Re-assigned to the AHL.
Jim O'Brien (C) Ottawa – Re-assigned to the AHL.
Andre Benoit (D) Ottawa –Re-assigned to the AHL.
Marek Svatos (W) Ottawa –Claimed off waivers.
Alexei Kovalev (W) Pittsburgh -- Traded from Ottawa.
Mike Smith (G) Tampa Bay – Placed on re-entry waivers.
Yann Sauve (D) Vancouver -- Re-assigned to the AHL.
Joe Callahan (D) Florida -- Recalled from the AHL.
Michal Repik (W) Florida -- Recalled from the AHL.
Bill Thomas (C) Florida -- Recalled from the AHL.
Keaton Ellerby (D) Florida -- Re-assigned to the AHL.
Ales Kotalik (W) Calgary -- Cleared waivers.
Nikolay Zherdev (W) Philadelphia -- Cleared waivers.
Nick Leddy (D) Chicago --Recalled from the AHL.
Jed Ortmeyer (W) Minnesota -- Recalled from the AHL.
Tim Wallace (W) Pittsburgh -- Re-assigned to the AHL.
Jesse Joensuu (W) Islanders -- Re-assigned to the AHL.

Hot

Vincent Lecavalier (C) Tampa Bay – Lecavalier has been a shell of his former self the past few seasons. He once had a season where he netted 52 goals but has been lucky to reach half that total the past two to three seasons. He is no longer the centerpiece of the Lightning offense, but his play has picked up lately with seven goals and five assists in his last seven games. He is a player who shouldn't be forgotten about.

Tyler Myers (D) Buffalo – Myers had been in what some might call a sophomore slump for most of this season, but he may be snapping out of it. Along with an overtime goal, he has two other goals in his past eight games, and his play may finally be picking up. The Sabres are going to need all the help they can get from Myers if they want to make the playoffs.

Cold

Kris Versteeg (W) Philadelphia -- Versteeg was traded from Chicago in the offseason to clear up cap space for the Hawks, but couldn't find a home in Toronto and was dealt to the Flyers. Life hasn't been getting any better in Philly as Versteeg only has one goal, an empty netter, since being acquired.

Curtis McElhinney (G) Anaheim – McElhinney had a huge opportunity to prove to the NHL that he could be a starting goaltender when Jonas Hiller went down, but he was nothing short of horrible in that role. He was so bad, in fact, that the Ducks traded him Thursday to Tampa for backup Dan Ellis, where he once again will ride the pine behind Dwayne Roloson, and if Mike Smith clears re-entry waivers, McElhinney may find himself in the AHL.

Recommended Pickup

Steve Mason (G) Columbus – Could put the Sharks Antii Niemi here as well, as both goaltenders have been playing well lately after a slow start to the season. For Mason, however, it's been almost 18 months since he has displayed the top form he has showed lately. His strong play has the Blue Jackets thinking playoffs in the West.

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