Game recaps, including Alexander Ovechkin’s four-goal game, the Rangers get bad news on Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal, the Islanders snap their 10-game losing skid, and Steve Yzerman will take part in this year’s Winter Classic Alumni Game.

Alexander Ovechkin celebrates one of his four goals against the Lightning.

Alexander Ovechkin celebrates one of his four goals against the Lightning.

WASHINGTON POST: Alexander Ovechkin’s four-goal performance rallied the Capitals from a three-goal deficit to down the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5 in a shootout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Ovechkin haters must admit his improved performance last season during a shortened schedule wasn’t a fluke after all. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad each scored twice to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Antoine Vermette’s two goals carried the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-1 victory over the now-slumping Colorado Avalanche.

MIAMI HERALD: Brad Boyes shootout goal lifted the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings, marking the tenth shootout loss for the Wings this season.

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Gaustad, Matt Hendricks and Rich Clune scored in the Nashville Predators 3-1 win over the New York Rangers, who lost captain Ryan Callahan four-to-six weeks with a knee sprain, and announced defenseman Marc Staal has a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think anyone’s surprised Staal has a concussion after getting hit on the jaw by a shot over the weekend. Callahan has had a tough year, spending the summer recovering from shoulder surgery,  suffering an early season hand injury, and now a knee sprain.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Nick Foligno capped his club’s rally from a two-goal deficit as the Blue Jackets edged the New Jersey Devils 5-4.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Kevin Poulin made 46 saves and Kyle Okposo scored the game winner as the New York Islanders snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner”.

NBC SPORTS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there’s no immediate plans for the league to expand, nor is he ranking cities for potential expansion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL will eventually expand again. One need only look at the new standings to see that.  After rushing so quickly to expand in the 1990s, Bettman and company will take their time now to ensure the feasibility of potential new locations.

USA TODAY: NHL GMs believe suspensions are improving player behavior.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After seeing the Penguins-Bruins game last Saturday, critics disagree.

SPORTING NEWS: Tampa Bay Lightning GM and former Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman will participate in this year’s Winter Classic Alumni Game.

TWINCITIES.COM: Of the 11 NHL teams with 40 or more points this season, only the Minnesota Wild have a road record below .500.

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