Capitals coach criticizes Tomas Vokoun’s performance…Devils coach Pete DeBoer inspires his club…Steve Downie a step in the right direction for Avalanche…Putting trust in Lightning GM Steve Yzerman’s future plans…Stephen Weiss to reach Panthers milestone…Sabres owner quietly celebrates first anniversary of taking over the team…Blackhawks improved defense key to recent victories…Bruins down the Blues….


Vokoun's poor performance contributes to Capitals woes.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals head coach Dale Hunter was critical of goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who was pulled for the second straight game in the Caps 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Vokoun has given up 27 goals over his past dozen starts, and the Capitals are 4-6-2 over that stretch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vokoun’s not the only reason for the Capitals recent free-fall, but his performance certainly hasn’t helped, especially in the past two games.

NJ.COM: Devils coach Pete DeBoer’s calm, confident manner has been an inspiration for this players this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the article noted, one player who has thrived playing for DeBoer is Ilya Kovalchuk, who has rounded into a strong all-round performer this season.

DENVER POST: The addition of energetic forward Steve Downie could be a step in the right direction for the Colorado Avalanche. Downie played his first game with the Avs last night since being dealt from the Lightning, a 4-1 victory over the LA Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Downie provides a jolt of energy and passion, and it’ll be interesting to see if that rubs off on his new teammates down the stretch.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Though Lightning GM Steve Yzerman recently dealt away three players, the team’s leaders are putting their trust in his plans for the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning were spinning their wheels this season and needed a shake-up. Expect more changes, especially in goal, in the off-season.

MIAMI HERALD: Stephen Weiss will reach a Panthers milestone tonight, playing in his 614th game with the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As nice as that is for Weiss, you know the only goal he cares about is making the playoffs for the first time in his NHL career.

BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres owner Terry Pegula quietly marked the first anniversary of his takeover of the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things haven’t exactly gone as he planned for the club this season, but his passion for the Sabres remains undimmed, which is a good sign going forward.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Improved defensive play and goaltending were key to the Blackhawks four consecutive victories.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll need to keep that up to avoid another lengthy losing skid.

BOSTON GLOBE: Brad Marchand scored twice as the Bruins downed the St. Louis Blue 4-2.