Evgeni Malkin has five point night…Nicklas Backstrom struggles to return from post-concussion symptoms…Kimmo Timonen blasts Flyers teammates after loss to Rangers…Blues could have Andy McDonald back today…Ducks face pressure to stay in playoff chase…Red Wings to pursue rec0rd-tying win…Coyotes get five-straight win handing Blackhawks their 8th straight loss…Sharks begin grueling road trip…Panthers down Devils….Sabres fall to Lightning…Stars owner to broaden team’s appeal.


Malkin leads Penguins over Jets with five-point performance.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Evgeni Malkin’s 400th NHL game was a memorable one, as he scored one goal and set up four others leading the Penguins to an 8-5 win over Winnipeg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin and Fleury are the main reasons the Penguins have overcome a rash of injuries to key players this season.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom’s struggle to recover from a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It does the NHL no good at all to have stars like Backstrom sidelined by concussion injuries. More must be done to better protect the players.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen called out his teammates yesterday following their 5-2 loss to the NY Rangers, saying the Flyers didn’t show up for that game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Timonen is trying to fill the leadership void left by the absence of injured captain Chris Pronger. He’s right about his club’s performance, but it remains to be seen they heed his words.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues could have forward Andy McDonald back in the lineup today for the first time since suffering a concussion on October 13.

ORANGE COUNTER REGISTER: The Ducks cannot afford letdowns if they hope to remain in the playoff race.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings will pursue a record-tying 20th consecutive home victory when they face off against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Phoenix Coyotes won their fifth straight as they handed the Chicago Blackhawks their eighth straight loss, shutting out the Blackhawks 3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caught clips of this game on NHL On The Fly, and from what I saw, the Blackhawks are in serious trouble. They simply didn’t play with the swagger they had earlier this season, when they were jockeying for first in the Western Conference.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: The Sharks begin a grueling 9-game, 7, 750 mile road trip.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is one reason why there must be divisional realignment, to cut down on these punishing road trips for Western Conference teams.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers got their first regulation road win in more than two months, dropping the New Jersey Devils 3-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll need more of those down the stretch if they hope to secure their first playoff berth in twelve years.

BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres are in “must-win” mode after falling last night 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neither team can afford letdowns heading into the final third of the season.

STAR-TELEGRAM: New Dallas Stars own Tom Gaglardi is hoping to broaden his team’s appeal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Building a consistent playoff contender would be a good start.