Game recaps, plus the latest on Pavel Datsyuk, Milan Lucic, Ray Emery, Semyon Varlamov and more.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Goals by Drew Doughty and Kyle Clifford lifted the LA Kings to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The game saw the return of Kings defenseman Matt Greene, who’d been sidelined by back surgery since the start of the season.

John Tavares celebrates one of his two goals over the Maple Leafs on Thursday.

John Tavares celebrates one of his two goals over the Maple Leafs on Thursday.

NEWSDAY: John Tavares scored twice as the NY Islanders overcame an early two-goal deficit to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. The win lifted the seventh-overall Islanders to withing two points of the fifth-overall Leafs and one behind the sixth overall Ottawa Senators.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard each scored twice as the NY Rangers thumped the Florida Panthers 6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers failed to gain ground on the Islanders, remaining three points back of their rivals, but the win ensured they retained control of eighth overall, as the Winnipeg Jets also won last night.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: Martin Havlat and Logan Couture each had two goals to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 6-1 rout of the Minnesota Wild.

WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals eight-game winning streak came to an end, falling 3-1 to the Ottawa Senators. First-line center Nicklas Backstrom left the game after being struck on the left arm by a slapshot from teammate Mike Green.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far it sounds like Backstrom suffered a badly bruised arm. 

STLTODAY.COM: Andy McDonald’s shootout goal lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. The combination of the Wild’s and Blue Jackets’ respective losses last night allowed the sixth overall Blues to open a one-point lead over the Wild and a three point lead over the Jackets.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Goals by Cody Eakin, Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney early in the third period carried the Dallas Stars to a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks, keeping the Stars within two points of eighth overall in the Western Conference.

NORTHJERSEY.COM/PHILLY.COM: The New Jersey Devils snapped a 10-game losing skid with a 3-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers, putting the latter on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in overtime, effectively eliminating the Hurricanes from playoff contention.

TBO.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped a 3-2 decision to the Montreal Canadiens. Earlier in the day, the Lightning had been eliminated from playoff contention.

MLIVE.COM: Red Wings management intends to meet with Pavel Datsyuk and his agent to determine the center’s plans beyond next season. Datsyuk has one season remaining on his contract, and it’s rumored he’ll join the KHL once his contract is completed.

BOSTON GLOBE: Struggling Milan Lucic could be a healthy scratch when the Bruins face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

DENVER POST: Semyon Varlamov and Milan Hejduk will rejoin the Colorado Avalanche for their final five games of the season.

SPORTSNET.CA: John Shannon believes the NHL should consider adopting a shorter schedule. Don’t get your hopes up.

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