The Penguins lose three more to injuries…Ducks down Blue Jackets, who lose Jeff Carter to shoulder injury…Devils ahead of last season’s pace…Boston’s Brad Marchand to face hearing today…Sabres haven’t been the same since “Boston Massacre”…Blackhawks lose their fourth straight…Dallas’ Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn most under-rated…Panthers, Lightning status at mid-season.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Penguins have lost three more key players, as forwards Jordan Staal (knee), James Neal (broken foot) and Craig Adams (knee) are expected to miss time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to put more pressure upon the rest of the lineup, including forward Evgeni Malkin and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins have done well remaining among the best teams in the East this season despite all the injuries, but this could be the tipping point.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Corey Perry potted a hat trick as the Ducks won 7-4 over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who lost center Jeff Carter to a separated shoulder from a hit by Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Ducks GM Bob Murray’s veiled threat last week about moving a core player struck a chord. Carter’s injury should put an end to the trade rumors about him for a while.
NEW YORK POST: The New Jersey Devils are currently well ahead (23-16-2) of where they were at this point last season, when they were 10-29-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like last season was merely an aberration, rather than an indication of the Devils decline as a playoff contender.
BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins forward Brad Marchand faces a hearing today with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan over his clip of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Sami Salo on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand claims he was acting in self-defense. We should find out later today if the league sees it the same way.
BUFFALO NEWS: Though the Sabres call it a coincidence, they haven’t been the same since Bruins forward Milan Lucic steamrollered Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller back in November.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it’s more than a coincidence, as the Sabres tepid response in that game appears since then to have damaged team chemistry .
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks suffered their fourth consecutive loss Sunday, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forwards Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn are pleased to have been voted “most under-rated” in an SI.com poll of 179 NHL players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Stars continue to improve, those two won’t be under-rated for much longer.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers hope to build on the strong start in the second half of the season.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning will play nine of their next 12 games at home, where they hope to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That stretch of home games could determine if GM Steve Yzerman becomes a “buyer” or “seller” at the trade deadline.