NHL On Tap: Maple Leafs face Lightning, each go for fourth straight win



Maple Leafs, Lightning each try to extend winning streak

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning will each go for their fourth consecutive victory when they play at Scotiabank Arena (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, BSSUN, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) on Thursday. The Maple Leafs (5-4-1) are coming off victories against the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Vegas Golden Knights, outscoring them 12-6. Forwards Mitchell Marner and Auston Matthews, who entered the game against Vegas on Tuesday with one goal apiece, combined for five points in Toronto’s 4-0 victory. The Lightning (5-3-1) outscored their opponents by a combined 13-4 in wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes and Washington Capitals. Forward Steven Stamkos leads Tampa Bay with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) and is always energized when he returns to his hometown. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer


Ovechkin continues chase of Hull

Alex Ovechkin is two goals from tying Brett Hull (741) for fourth in NHL history heading into the Washington Capitals’ game against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, NBCSWA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Ovechkin has scored 15 points with nine goals that are tied with Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl for first in the NHL but was held without a point for the first time this season in a 3-2 loss at the Lightning on Monday, Washington’s first regulation loss of the season (5-1-3). The Panthers (8-0-1) will look to rebound from a 3-2 shootout loss at the Boston Bruins on Saturday, which ended their season-opening eight-game winning streak. With a victory or overtime/shootout loss, Florida would push its season-opening point streak to 10 games and move within two of the team record (12) set in 1996-97. Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau has three goals and six assists during a six-game point streak. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer


Blues get right back at it 

The St. Louis Blues continue to hold onto first place in the Central Division (6-1-1) heading into their game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, BSMW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). St. Louis has dropped two of its past three games but earned a point in a 3-2 shootout loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, when Torey Krug tied it with a shorthanded goal in the closing seconds of the third period. Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is off to a fantastic start this season and enters with a seven-game point streak (four goals, seven assists). The Sharks have won six of nine and seek their third straight victory. It will be interesting to see if goalie James Reimer gets another start. He is 3-1-0 with a 1.54 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor


Thursday schedule

Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, SNO, SNP, NESN, BSDET, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Moritz Seider was named NHL Rookie of the Month for October after he became the first defenseman in Red Wings history to score eight points in his first nine NHL games. Detroit forward Lucas Raymond, also a rookie, has scored nine points (four goals, five assists). Goalie Jeremy Swayman will start for the Bruins, his first since Oct. 28 following back-to-back losses.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, BSSUN, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

It’s the first game between Tampa Bay and Toronto since March 10, 2020. The Lightning have won three of their first four road games this season and are expected to have defensemen Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak after each did not practice Tuesday for what coach Jon Cooper called a maintenance day. Forwards William Nylander (four goals, four assists) and John Tavares (three goals, five assists) lead the Maple Leafs with eight points in 10 games.

New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, MSG+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Goalie Semyon Varlamov could make his season debut in the eighth of the Islanders’ season opening 13-game road stretch. Varlamov missed training camp because of what coach Barry Trotz called “soreness.” New York has a five-game point streak (3-0-2) since opening the season with back-to-back losses. The Canadiens will be without Jonathan Drouin. The forward took part in the morning skate but remains day to day and coach Dominique Ducharme said he’s not 100 percent and they don’t want to take any chances. Drouin was hit in the head by a shot during a 3-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Tests confirmed he did not have a concussion.

Vegas Golden Knights at Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS2, ATTSN-RM, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Golden Knights (4-5-0), who acquired center Jack Eichel in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, continue a four-game road trip they opened with a 4-0 loss at the Maple Leafs on Tuesday that ended their three-game winning streak. Center Chandler Stephenson leads Vegas with nine points (four goals, five assists) in nine games. The Senators (3-5-1) return home after going 1-1-1 on three-game road trip that ended with a 5-4 overtime loss at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Forward Drake Batherson has scored eight points (four points, four assists) in his past four games and leads Ottawa with 10 points (five goals, five assists).

Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, NBCSWA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Panthers are 5-0-0 at home this season and have won nine straight regular-season games there since a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on April 22. This will be Washington’s first game at Florida since a 5-4 overtime win Nov. 7, 2019.

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET: ATTSN-PT, NBSWP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Penguins will be without captain Sidney Crosby, who tested positive for COVID-19 and will be out at least 10 days. Crosby made his season debut last Saturday after missing the first seven games of the season following Sept. 8 wrist surgery. Pittsburgh (3-3-2) has lost three in a row and is 2-3-1 on an eight-game homestand that concludes Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. The Flyers (5-2-1) are 2-1-0 on the road. Center Sean Couturier leads Philadelphia with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and has scored at least one point in six of eight games.

Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames (9 p.m. ET; SNW, BSSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Flames (6-1-2) will attempt to extend their points streak to nine games against a Stars team (3-4-2) that is 0-2-2 in its past four. Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom is flourishing under coach Darryl Sutter’s defense-first system and leads the NHL with three shutouts. The Arizona Coyotes (13), Boston Bruins (17) and Islanders (17) are the only teams to have scored fewer goals than the Stars (18).

Buffalo Sabres at Seattle Kraken (10 p.m. ET; ROOT-NW, MSG-B, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Sabres (5-3-1) will attempt to avoid a three-game skid after a 5-1-1 start. The offense is led by forward Victor Olofsson, who has scored nine points (five goals, four assists) in eight games. The Kraken (3-6-1) are struggling to create offense, scoring three goals in their past two games, both losses.

St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, BSMW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) 

The Blues complete their first back to back of the season against the Sharks (6-3-0), who will be without leading scorer Timo Meier (11 points; five goals, six assists) after the forward was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Wednesday.

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