Evgeni Malkin carries Penguins over Lightning…Stars’ Jamie Benn sidelined…David Perron regaining confidence…Jason Blake leads Ducks over Canucks…Capitals edge Hurricanes….Scolding two veteran superstars for skipping the All Star Game…The Devils debt woes continues…Wild need offense from the blueline…Red Wings could make history tonight….


Malkin's hat trick carries Penguins over Lightning.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Evgeni Malkin potted a hat trick as the Pittsburgh Penguins held off the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 6-3 win. It’s the Lightning’s seventh straight loss, dropping them into the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After dropping six straight, the Penguins have now won two in a row, and will need more games like that from Malkin until they get back injured stars like Jordan Staal and perhaps Sidney Crosby.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Jamie Benn will be sidelined 10-14 days following an appendectomy, joining center Mike Ribeiro (knee) on the sidelines until after the All-Star break.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward David Perron has had a strong return from a concussion injury, but is only now starting to feel more comfortable on the ice.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Jason Blake had two goals and an assist to lead the Anaheim Ducks over the Vancouver Canucks 4-2, for their fifth win in six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have certainly showed recent improvement, but they remain 14 points out of the final playoff spot in the West.

WASHINGTON POST: Tomas Vokoun made 43 saves and Dmitry Orlov scored his first NHL goal as the Capitals edged the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have turned it around of late, winning seven of their last ten, and moved into first in the Southeast.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren scolds long-time NHL superstars Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne for opting out of this year’s All-Star Game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Warren’s entitled to his opinion, even though he’s wrong. Lidstrom and Selanne owe the fans nothing at this stage of their career. They’ve attended every previous ASG when health permitted, and at this stage of their respective careers, they’ve earned the right to use the All-Star break to rest up for the demanding second half of this season, rather than waste that valuable time in a meaningless game. Besides, there’s plenty of other All-Stars who’ll be in attendance, so I doubt this year’s ASG will suffer without Lidstrom and Selanne.

NORTHJEREY.COM: More on the financial woes of the New Jersey Devils, including why the NHL won’t allow this franchise to fold or relocate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Location and history are the two main factors.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: With their forwards falling by the wayside to injury, the Minnesota Wild need more offensive production from the defensemen.

DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings could make history tonight, as a victory over the Buffalo Sabres would set a franchise-record 15th consecutive victory on home ice.