NHL On Tap: Maple Leafs, Golden Knights look to get back on track

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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 Tuesday.

 

Maple Leafs-Golden Knights showdown in Vegas

When NHL.com did its preseason predictions in September, I went with the Vegas Golden Knights over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Final. And while that prediction didn’t look great in the season’s early days, it doesn’t look bad right now. The Maple Leafs (22-8-3) are fourth in the NHL in points percentage (.712) and the Golden Knights (23-14-1) lead the Pacific Division. So, getting to watch them clash at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, TSN4, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) should be a treat. Each team is hungry for a win, too. The Maple Leafs are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday that ended a four-game winning streak. The Golden Knights lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in their reunion with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on Saturday and are 1-2-1 in their past four games. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

 

Seth Jones returns to Columbus

The Chicago Blackhawks’ reunion trip continues with defenseman Seth Jones returning to Nationwide Arena to face the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET; BSOH, NBCSCH, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Jones played six seasons with Columbus before being traded to Chicago for defenseman Adam Boqvist and three draft picks July 23. Jones is tied for 10th among NHL defensemen with 25 points (three goals, 22 assists) in 35 games with the Blackhawks this season. Chicago (12-18-5) is coming off an emotional 2-1 victory Saturday in Fleury’s return to face the Golden Knights, who traded him to the Blackhawks on July 27. Columbus (16-16-1) is 4-10-1 since starting the season 12-6-0 but ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

 

Malkin could make season debut

Evgeni Malkin was labeled a game-time decision by coach Mike Sullivan on Monday, meaning the Pittsburgh Penguins center could make his season debut against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, BSW, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Malkin hasn’t played this season while recovering from knee surgery he had June 4. He’s been working his way back into game shape, using the past few weeks as his own training camp practicing with the Penguins (20-9-5). He was on the top power-play unit with Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Evan Rodrigues and Kris Letang in practice Monday. He was also the center on the second line between Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen. Those are all great indications Malkin will play against the Ducks (19-12-7), who are coming off a 4-3 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. The Penguins had a 10-game winning streak end in a 3-2 loss at the Dallas Stars on Saturday. — Dan Rosen, senior writer

 

Tuesday schedule

Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET (SNE, SNO, TVAS, MSG-B, BSSUN, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Ondrej Palat has scored four goals in the past three games for the Lightning (23-9-5), who are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at home Saturday after wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames. Jack Quinn, the No. 8 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, is expected to make his NHL debut for the Sabres (10-18-6), who are 0-3-2 in their past five games. Their last win came on Dec. 16, a 3-2 shootout victory against the Minnesota Wild.

Vancouver Canucks at Florida Panthers, 7 p.m. ET (BSFL, SNP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Jonathan Huberdeau has scored 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in a five-game point streak for the Panthers (23-7-5). That is tied for the most points over any five-game stretch in Panthers history. Forwards Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson are expected to return for the Canucks (16-15-3). Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko has won his past seven starts. 

Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET (BSOH, NBCSCH, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Patrick Kane has six assists in the past four games for the Blackhawks. The Blue Jackets have not won consecutive games since Nov. 22-26, when they won three straight.

Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET (BSSO, ALT2, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Nazem Kadri has scored 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in a seven-game point streak for the Avalanche (22-8-2), who have won five straight and are 10-1-0 in their past 11 games after a 4-3 win against the Seattle Kraken on Monday. The Predators (23-11-2) have won four in a row, are 11-1-1 in their past 13 games and are first in the Central Division, two points ahead of third-place Colorado. 

Toronto Maple Leafs at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET (ATTSN-RM, TSN4, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

These teams close out their season series after Toronto shut out Vegas 4-0 at home Nov. 2, when goalie Jack Campbell made 26 saves, forward Mitchell Marner scored three points (one goal, two assists) and center Auston Matthews scored two goals.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET (SNE, SNO, SNP, BSW, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Kris Letang has eight assists in his past four games for the Penguins. The Ducks have allowed at least 36 shots in five of their past six games and are 2-3-1 in that stretch.

Detroit Red Wings at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+, HULU, NHL LIVE)

The Red Wings (16-16-4) defeated the Sharks (19-16-1) 6-2 on Jan. 4, when Pius Suter and Tyler Bertuzzi each scored two goals. Detroit forward Dylan Larkin has an upper-body injury and likely will not play. 

Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers, postponed

New York Islanders at Calgary Flames, postponed

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