Ducks nip the Wild, Blackhawks crush the Flyers, plus the latest on Alexander Ovechkin, Matt Duchene, Joe Pavelski and more.

Corey Perry scores against the Minnesota Wild.

Corey Perry scores against the Minnesota Wild.

LOS ANGELES TIMES:  Corey Perry scored his eightt goal in seven games as the Anaheim Ducks nipped the Minnesota Wild 2-1 for their fourth straight win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hard to believe only two years ago there was talk of the Ducks trading Perry when the club was struggling through a horrible 2011-12 campaign.  

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks gave former teammate Ray Emery a rough welcome back to Chicago, lighting him up for five goals on ten shots in the second period on route to a 7-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers.

NOTE: The Kings-Maple Leafs game is recapped in “Canadian Corner”.

WASHINGTON POST: Could Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin score 50 goals in 50 games this season? He’s not far off pace of reaching that milestone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: 50 in 50 is a rarity nowadays. Indeed, it hasn’t happened since the 1990s.  It would be a significant achievement for Ovechkin if he can reach that elusive goal.

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche forward Matt  Duchene has no goals in seven games since returning from an oblique injury.

DETROIT NEWS: Jimmy Howard (knee) joins the growing list of Red Wings on the injured list, while Henrik Zetterberg (back) is now on LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move to the weaker Eastern Conference is benefiting the injury-ravaged Wings this season. If they were still in the Western Conference, their 38 points would put them two points out of a playoff berth.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Joe Pavelski’s struggles coincides with the San Jose Sharks recent slump.

TBO.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Richard Panik was suspended two games for boarding Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Outdoor games are now a key cog in the NHL’s marketing machine, so expect to see many more of them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks think the NHL’s new Canadian TV contract is why the salary cap will jump to $71 million next season. In fact, it’s the six outdoor games this season, as the TV deal doesn’t kick in until next season.  Don’t be surprised if four-to-six outdoor games per season becomes a regular occurrence.  I was among those who thought the NHL was ruining a good thing by staging too many outdoor games, but the fans are buying into these games and advertisers are beating down the league’s door to sponsor these games. 

STLTODAY.COM: The rising NHL salary cap could prove challenging for teams like the St. Louis Blues to keep pace unless they expand their revenue base.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A steadily rising cap could increase the gulf between the wealthier big market clubs and the rest of the league. The improved revenue sharing in the new CBA should help, but more will be needed in the next CBA if the gap between the big and small markets significantly widens.