NHL On Tap: Blues host Wild trying to build momentum in playoff push

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Welcome to the NHL On Tap. Three NHL.com writers will share what they are most looking forward to on the schedule each day. Today, their choices from the seven games Friday.

 

Wild, Blues face off after statement wins

The Minnesota Wild visit the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, BSMW, BSN, BSWI+, NHL.TV) after each earned a statement win Wednesday. Powered by left wing Kevin Fiala‘s first NHL hat trick and rookie left wing Kirill Kaprizov‘s third three-point game of the season (two goals, one assist), the Wild ended the Colorado Avalanche’s 15-game point streak and tied a team record by scoring eight goals. The victory moved the third-place Wild within two points of the second-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. St. Louis is coming off a 3-1 win against Vegas fueled by an NHL career-high 50 saves by goalie Jordan Binnington that ended an 0-6-1 skid and eight-game slide at home (0-6-2). The fifth-place Blues are three points back of the Arizona Coyotes for fourth in the division, where the top four teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — William Douglas, staff writer

 

Avalanche still have it

All good things must come to an end, right? It did for the Avalanche, whose 15-game point streak (13-0-2) ended when they lost to the Wild 8-3 on Wednesday. But I have no doubt the division leaders will recover quickly when they visit the Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. ET; SN, KCOP-13, BSW+, ALT2, NHL.TV). The Avalanche are four points ahead of the second-place Golden Knights in the eight-team division and 4-1-1 against the Ducks this season with three of those games going to overtime. Anaheim is 2-5-1 in its past eight and last in the West. I reference the Avalanche a lot in On Tap but they’re fun to watch, so there you have it. — Tracey Myers, staff writer

 

Coyotes, Golden Knights trying to rebound

The Coyotes and Golden Knights will each try to bounce back from disappointing losses when they play in Las Vegas (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, BSAZ+, NHL.TV). The Coyotes hope their 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday was a minor setback on their way to securing a playoff spot. Arizona, which is 3-2-0 on its season-long, nine-game road trip, had won three straight games and six of seven (6-1-0) before letting a 3-1 lead slip away against Los Angeles. That allowed the Blues to pull within three points of the Coyotes with their victory against the Golden Knights. Vegas is 1-4-0 in its past five games and plays Arizona again Sunday. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

 

Friday schedule

Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET (MSG-B, NBCSWA+, NHL.TV)

Alex Ovechkin scored his 20th goal in Washington’s 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruin on Thursday and the forward has now scored 20 or more goals in 16 consecutive seasons. He is five goals behind Marcel Dionne (731) for fifth place in NHL history.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, MSG+2, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Each team is coming off a win Thursday, The Penguins defeated the New York Rangers 5-2 after losing their previous two; the Devils defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 in their first game since trading forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the New York Islanders.

New York Rangers at New York Islanders, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN1, TVAS, MSG+, MSG 2, NHL.TV)

The Islanders are first in the MassMutual East Division and 17-1-2 at home after a 3-2 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. They have won four in a row and are 2-1-0 against the Rangers. 

Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET (NHLN, BSMW, BSN, BSWI+, NHL.TV)

The Wild and Blues play the first of seven games in the next 23 days. Minnesota forward Kevin Fiala has scored 11 points (five goals, six assists) in a seven-game point streak.

Arizona Coyotes at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET (ATTSN-RM, BSAZ+, NHL.TV)

Arizona forward Phil Kessel is expected to play his 885th consecutive game, passing Steve Larmer for fifth longest in NHL history. It is the third-longest active streak behind Keith Yandle (907) and Patrick Marleau (892). 

Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET (SN, KCOP-13, BSW+, ALT2, NHL.TV)

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has scored five goals in a four-game goal streak and 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in a seven-game point streak. 

Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSCA+, BSW, NHL.TV)

Anze Kopitar is expected to play his 1,112th game and pass Dave Taylor for second in Kings history behind Dustin Brown (1,219). San Jose is 5-1-0 against Los Angeles and forwards Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl each has scored four goals in the season series.

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