The Blues prepare to battle Canucks for first overall in the Western Conference…Penguins losing skid hits six games…Ilya Kovalchuk notches a notable goal against Oilers…Hurricanes Jeff Skinner close to returning…Wild’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard sidelined again by concussion…Pavel Kubina steps up for Lightning…Avalanche’s Peter Mueller reactivated…Sabres Luke Adam struggling…Wojtek Wolski returns to action with Rangers.

STLTODAY.COM: First overall in the Western Conference will be on the line tonight as the second-overall Blues clash with the first overall Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, kids, is why Blues coach Ken Hitchcock will likely be among the finalists for the Adams trophy as NHL coach of the year.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins dropped their sixth straight in a 1-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, but they’re putting a positive spin on the loss, noting they out-shot and out-hit the Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When you’re mired in a slump like the Penguins, you look for the positives wherever you can find them, hoping one of them will help get you back on the winning track.

NJ.COM: Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk scored his first-ever goal in Edmonton, as the Devils downed the Oilers 2-1.

Skinner close to returning to Hurricanes.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM:Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner is close to returning to action after being sidelined for a month with concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully he has no lingering after-effects and can play out the remainder of the season. His return won’t save the Hurricanes season, but it could go a long way toward rebuilding his confidence as well as his performance.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard suffered another concussion, but while he said the symptoms aren’t as serious as his previous injury, his absence is a serious blow for a team lacking offensive depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could push the Wild into the trade market for help. Meanwhile, here’s hoping Bouchard has a speedy recovery.

TAMPABAY.COM: With defenseman Victor Hedman out indefinitely, veteran defenseman Pavel Kubina has stepped up his play for the Lightning.

DENVER POST: Avalanche forward Peter Mueller has been activated to the roster after his concussion symptoms finally subside, and could be in the lineup tonight against Nashville.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mueller’s once-promising career has been jeopardized by concussion injuries. Hopefully, he’ll be able to overcome this problem and continue his career.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres rookie forward Luke Adam has seen his ice time decline along with his performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the first two months of this season, Adam was among the league’s top rookies. The decline in his play mirrors that of his team.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers winger Wojtek Wolski might be able to avoid playing in the minors with Brandon Dubinsky now sidelined.