NHL On Tap: Flames return to Calgary, host Senators


Flames finally return home

The Calgary Flames host the Ottawa Senators (9 p.m. ET; SNW, TSN5, RDS2, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) in the first game at Scotiabank Saddledome since Dec. 11. COVID-19 issues and attendance restrictions for cities in Canada forced the Flames (17-10-6) to play their past five games on the road. They’ve lost three in a row, allowing 16 goals and at least four in each of the three, after giving up 2.23 goals per game in their first 30 of the season. The Senators (9-18-2) play their first game since a 6-0 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1 and look for their first win since defeating the Florida Panthers 8-2 on Dec. 14. They’ve played three games since then (0-2-1). — Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

Malkin makes Penguins must-see TV

Evgeni Malkin is back for the Pittsburgh Penguins (21-9-5), and the question is what he’ll do for an encore against the Los Angeles Kings (18-13-5) at Crypto.com Arena (10:30 p.m. ET; SN, BSW, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) after scoring three points (two goals, one assist) in a 4-1 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The 35-year-old forward had knee surgery June 4 but looked like his old self in his season debut. If Malkin can keep doing that, imagine what it will do for a Pittsburgh team that was 10-1-0 in the 11 games before he returned. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

Sharks go for four in a row

The San Jose Sharks (20-16-1) can win their fourth straight game when they play the New York Rangers (23-10-4) at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, MSG, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Sharks captain Logan Couture returned in grand fashion after missing three games in NHL COVID-19 protocol when he scored 1:00 into overtime for a 3-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Defenseman Brent Burns has three assists in each of his past two games for the Sharks, who are 6-0 in games decided in overtime, extra points that could make or break their hopes of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s the finale of a four-game West Coast trip for the Rangers (23-10-4); they are 1-2-0 thus far. Defenseman Braden Schneider, a first-round pick (No. 19) in the 2020 NHL Draft, could make his NHL debut after being recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor

Thursday schedule

Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNE, SNO, TVAS, NHL LIVE)

Cam Atkinson has scored six points (two goals, four assists) during a four-game point streak for the Flyers (13-15-7). Goalie Tuukka Rask is expected to make his season debut after signing a one-year contract with the Bruins on Tuesday. Rask had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip in July. Boston (20-11-2) is 6-1-0 since Jan. 1 while outscoring opponents 33-16.

Vancouver Canucks at Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET; BSSUN, SNP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

J.T. Miller has scored 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in his past 10 games for the Canucks (16-16-3). Forward Nikita Kucherov has five points (three goals, two assists) in three games for the Lightning (24-9-5) since returning from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for 32 games.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, NHL LIVE)

The Blue Jackets (16-17-1) are 1-for-26 (3.9 percent) on the power play in their past 10 games (3-6-1). Brady Skjei has scored in each of his past three games (four goals, two assists) for the Hurricanes (24-7-2), the longest active goal streak by an NHL defenseman and one behind Dougie Hamilton‘s Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers record set from Oct. 6-12, 2019. 

Winnipeg Jets at Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; BSDET, TSN3, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Defenseman Dylan DeMelo could return for the Jets (16-12-5) after missing one game in NHL COVID-19 protocol. If he’s unavailable, Dylan Samberg or Declan Chisholm could make his NHL debut. The Red Wings (16-16-5) have lost three straight games, but the past two have been in a shootout (4-3 to the Ducks on Sunday) and overtime (3-2 to the Sharks on Tuesday).

New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG, MSG+ 2, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Devils (14-17-5) are without goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, who was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Wednesday. The Islanders (10-12-6) are playing for the first time since Jan. 1; they have had four games since then postponed. Lou Lamoriello of the Islanders is one win from tying Glen Sather (1,506) for the second highest combined total among NHL general managers. David Poile of the Nashville Predators is first (1,576).

Seattle Kraken at St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET; BSMW, ROOT-NW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Kraken (10-20-4) have lost six straight (0-5-1) and look for their first win since Dec. 14. Pavel Buchnevich has scored 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his past seven games for the Blues (21-10-5).

Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET; BSSO, MSG-B, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Predators (24-11-2) have won five in a row and are 12-1-1 in their past 14 games, which has moved them into first place in the Central Division. The Sabres (10-19-6) have lost six straight (0-4-2) and could start goalie Aaron Dell following injuries to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (week to week, lower body) and Malcolm Subban (month to month, upper body) during a 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Montreal Canadiens at Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, TSN2, RDS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Forward Patrick Kane has a five-game point streak for the Blackhawks (13-18-5) but is without a goal in 13 consecutive games since Dec. 4. The Canadiens (7-24-4) play the second of a back to back after a 5-1 at the Bruins on Wednesday.

Ottawa Senators at Calgary Flames (9 p.m. ET; SNW, TSN5, RDS2, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Nick Paul is expected to shift from wing to center for the Senators with Tim Stutzle in NHL COVID-19 protocol. Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau has scored at least one point in five of his past six games (five goals, four assists).

Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET; SN, BSW, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Penguins forward Jake Guentzel extended his personal point streak to 18 games Tuesday (15 goals, 12 assists). Forward Viktor Arvidsson has scored six points (two goals, four assists) in his past four games for the Kings (18-13-5), who have won four of five (4-1-0).

New York Rangers at San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, MSG, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Goalie Alexandar Georgiev is expected to start for the Rangers with Igor Shesterkin in NHL COVID-19 protocol. Sharks forward Timo Meier has two goals and six assists during a five-game point streak.

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