Canucks believe they’re better this season…The Canadiens crush the Jets…Senators Chris Phillips out with concussion…Mistakes proving costly for Flames…Oilers Ladislav Smid becoming a top defenseman…Maple Leafs place Colton Orr on waivers.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks are seven points behind their pace of a year ago, but believe they’re a better team this season because of last season’s experience.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Bruins, the Canucks have shaken off their “Stanley Cup Final” hangover and are among the top teams in the league. Should be interesting to see how far they can go this season, and if they can continue to put last season’s experience to good use.

Eller leads Habs over Jets with 4-goal night.

MONTREAL GAZETTE/WINNIPEG SUN: The Canadiens four-goal burst in the third period resulted in their 7-3 victory over the Jets. Canadiens forward Lars Eller led the charge with a four-goal performance.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Veteran Senators defenseman Chris Phillips has been sidelined by a concussion. They’re hoping it’s only a short-term issue.

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames are hoping to overcome the mental lapses in their game in the new year which proved costly to them in the final three months of 2011.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have shown improvement in recent weeks and remain within striking distance of a playoff berth, but it’s going to take a strong, consistent effort the rest of the way if they hope to make the post-season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers blueliner Ladislav Smid has emerged as one of the league’s top all-round defensemen this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smid appears to be one of the few bright spots on the Oilers blueline this season.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs have placed enforcer Colton Orr on waivers.