Ryan Kesler playing well despite personal loss…Joffrey Lupul’s improvement with the Leafs… Oilers lose Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and head coach Tom Renney to injury…Scott Gomez more concerned about wins than goals…Jets getting what they paid for in offense…Anderson or Auld for Senators tonight?…Flames fall to Ducks in shootout.


Kesler playing through pain of personal loss.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks center Ryan Kesler has been playing well of late, despite the recent death of his grandmother.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a rough season for Kesler, trying to shake off the lingering after-effects of off-season hip surgery and now dealing with the loss of a beloved family member.

TORONTO SUN: Joffrey Lupul has come a long way since his brief period with the Edmonton Oilers, becoming one of the Maple Leafs top stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A combination of maturity and the belief the Leafs organization showed in Lupul since acquiring him last season has gone a long way to rejuvenating his career.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins re-injured the same shoulder which sidelined him for 13 games in last night’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Oilers were also without head coach Tom Renney, who was hit in the head with a puck during practice.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Scott Gomez has been the target of taunts for his inability to score for a year, but he claims he’s more focused on helping his team win games than in scoring goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Make no mistake, Gomez is as frustrated by his lack of goalscoring as Habs fans. If he weren’t earning over $7 million per season, his goal drought wouldn’t draw as much attention – or mockery – as it is.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets forwards are near the bottom of the league in payroll and goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s easy to dump on management for that, but first-year GM Kevin Cheveldayoff wanted to take a season to determine his team’s strengths and weaknesses. You can bet he’ll be investing in offensive depth in the off-season.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators coach Paul MacLean is pondering if he’ll start Craig Anderson in goal again, or give backup Alex Auld a rare start against the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might not be a bad idea to give Anderson a night off and see what Auld can do. The Senators are currently on a six-game losing skid and need something to help them snap out of it.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames losing skid in Anaheim continues, falling in a shoot-out 3-2, marking the 14th straight loss in Anaheim for the Flames.