Ducks down the Islanders, Penguins edge the Blue Jackets, NHL salary cap could rise substantially next season, the latest on Corey Crawford, Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss, Teddy Purcell and more.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Corey Perry scored twice, including a highlight reel goal from his knees, as the Anaheim Ducks downed the New York Islanders 5-2, handing the sinking Isles their tenth straight loss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a game featuring two clubs heading in different directions. The Ducks are among the league’s best this season, while the Isles playoff hopes are pretty much dashed by now.

Evgeni Malkin (L) celebrates his goal against the Blue Jackets.

Evgeni Malkin (L) celebrates his goal against the Blue Jackets.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were the goalscorers for the Penguins as they downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1.

TSN.CA: The salary cap for next season is projected to rise to $71.1 million, according to figures presented at yesterday’s NHL Board of Governors meeting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I predicted, the cap would rise to $70 million, perhaps higher.  The big reason is the plethora of outdoor games this season. That’s not taking into account the new TV deal with Rogers, which doesn’t kick in until next season.  As long as the Canadian dollar doesn’t go into a tailspin, cap increases should be significant in the coming years.

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger James Neal was suspended five games for kneeing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal had a phone hearing so five games is the most he could get. If he commits another suspension-worthy infraction, the punishment will be longer.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Carolina’s Jeff Skinner, Edmonton’s Taylor Hall and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo were last week’s NHL three stars.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville believes goalie Corey Crawford’s groin injury isn’t that serious. Crawford didn’t travel with the team to Dallas for their upcoming game against the Stars.

DETROIT NEWS: Pavel Datsyuk returns to the Red Wings lineup tonight in their game against the Florida Panthers.

MIAMI HERALD: Former Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss faces his old team in Florida for the first time since signing with the Detroit Red Wings last summer.

TAMPA TRIBUNE: Lightning forward Teddy Purcell is struggling to regain his scoring touch.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks laments the Rangers haven’t been the same since Brandon Prust departed via free agency two years ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers loss is the Montreal Canadiens gain.