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 Wednesday.
Ducks aim to end four-game skid
The Anaheim Ducks seemed ready to end a three-game losing streak Monday against the Arizona Coyotes, taking a 3-0 lead early in the second period. But four unanswered Coyotes goals proved a nightmare finish for the Ducks, Arizona’s 4-3 win tacking another loss to an Anaheim losing streak that’s at four when the teams play again in Glendale (9 p.m. ET; FS-A PLUS, PRIME, FS-SD, NHL.TV). Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak hopes to add to the Ducks’ woes by picking up where he left off Monday, when he ended a five-game scoring drought with two goals, including one on a shorthanded penalty shot. The Ducks, last in the Honda West Division, took some solace in defeat, saying their passion and energy was a steppingstone to better things. More of that won’t hurt Wednesday, along with an awakening of a power play that’s slumbering at 8.9 percent (4-for-45), 30th in the NHL, after going 1-for-5 in the first of this two-game set. — Dave Stubbs, columnist
Giroux expected back against shorthanded Rangers
Claude Giroux, fresh off the NHL COVID-19 protocol list, practiced Tuesday and could return when the Philadelphia Flyers host the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN). Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said Giroux wants to play for the first time since Feb. 7, but his status is still to be determined. Giroux, who admitted he was hit hard by the coronavirus, said he believes he is strong enough to play, and practiced on a line with Kevin Hayes and Nolan Patrick on Tuesday. The Flyers need him. They’ve lost two games, including 3-2 in a shootout against the Rangers on Feb. 18, since returning from a 10-day pause because of COVID-19 protocols. They’ll still be without forwards Travis Konecny, Jakub Voracek, Oskar Lindblom and Scott Laughton, and defenseman Justin Braun with all of them still on the COVID-19 list. The Rangers will be shorthanded, playing without forwards Artemi Panarin (leave of absence) and Kaapo Kakko (COVID-19 protocol). — Dan Rosen, senior writer
Stars seek better play, routine
The unusual 2020-21 season has every NHL team adapting to new routines, none more than the Dallas Stars. They visit the Florida Panthers again (5 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-SW, NHL.TV) after losing 3-1 to them Monday, their first game in nine days after four games were postponed because of severe winter weather in Texas last week. The Stars also had the start of their season delayed to Jan. 22 because several players were on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. The Stanley Cup finalists last season have played the fewest games in the NHL (13), and the delays surely have something to do with them going 0-3-3 in the past six games and 5-4-4 this season. Playing against the Panthers, the top team in the Discover Central Division, the Stars need to find their groove sooner rather than later. — Tim Campbell, staff writer
Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 p.m. ET; (ESPN+, SUN, FS-CR, NHL.TV)
The Lightning play the third of four straight games against the Hurricanes, coming off a 4-2 win Monday. Tampa Bay is 1-1-1 against Carolina this season.
Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers, 5 p.m. ET (FS-F, FS-SW, NHL.TV)
The Panthers have won six of their past eight games (6-2-0), including the victory against the Stars on Monday, the first of three straight between the teams.
New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Forward Artemi Panarin is on a leave of absence for personal reasons and the Rangers are 0-2-0 with two goals scored when the forward has not been in the lineup this season.
Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET (SN, TVAS, NHL.TV)
The Maple Leafs, who were shut out 3-0 by the Flames on Monday, have scored at least three goals in 16 of their 20 games this season.
Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET (ALT, FS-N, NHL.TV)
The Wild end a six-game road trip seeking their fourth consecutive win. Minnesota forward Mats Zuccarello has scored seven points (two goals, five assists) during a three-game point streak.
Anaheim Ducks at Arizona Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET (FS-A PLUS, PRIME, FS-SD, NHL.TV)
Forward Christian Dvorak has scored four goals for the Coyotes in three games against the Ducks this season.
Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
The Kings try to extend the longest active winning streak in the NHL to six games after shutting out the Blues 3-0 on Monday.