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 six games Friday.
Matthews aims to extend goal streak
Auston Matthews will try to extend his three-game goal streak and help the Toronto Maple Leafs widen their lead in the seven-team Scotia North Division with a victory at the Winnipeg Jets (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, TSN4, NHL.TV) to close a two-game series. Matthews leads the NHL with 24 goals in 33 games and has scored six points (three goals, three assists) in his past four. Jets forward Kyle Connor has scored six points (one goal, five assists) during a four-game point streak that includes an assist in Winnipeg’s 3-1 loss to Toronto on Wednesday. If Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck plays, it will be his 300th NHL game. — William Douglas, staff writer
Battle of Alberta heats up
It’s always a must-watch experience when the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers renew the Battle of Alberta and this installment in Edmonton (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNW, SNP, NHL.TV) should be no different. The Oilers have won four of the first six games between the rivals this season (4-2-0), including a 7-3 victory March 17. Edmonton captain Connor McDavid scored three points (one goal, two assists) in that game and leads all NHL players this season with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) against Calgary. The Oilers are third in the North Division, one point behind the second-place Jets, after their five-game point streak (4-0-1) ended with a 4-0 loss at the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. The Flames have one win in their past six games (1-5-0) and are tied with the Vancouver Canucks for fifth in the division. The top four teams in each of the four divisions qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After Friday, the Oilers and Flames won’t face each other again until April 29. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Sharks, Kings look to move up in the West
The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings each are trying to grab the fourth and final Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the eight-team Honda West Division. They’ll play each other four times during the next two weekends, beginning with the first of a back to back in Los Angeles (10 p.m. ET; KCOP-13, NBCSCA, NHL.TV). The Sharks and Kings each are four points behind the fourth-place St. Louis Blues, with San Jose coming off two consecutive wins against the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles defeating the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday. Forward Evander Kane leads the Sharks with 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) and forward Logan Couture is second with 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists). Forward Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 38 points (eight goals, 30 assists), followed by defenseman Drew Doughty with 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists). Four games in two weekends between these two with playoff implications? Yes, please. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET (NHLN, TVAS, MSG+, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)
The Capitals enter the second of a back to back during their five-game road trip through New York and New Jersey after an 8-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Devils are 4-11-2 at home this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m. ET (TSN3, TSN4, NHL.TV)
The Maple Leafs are 1-for-25 (4.0 percent) on the power play since March 9. This is the Jets’ last scheduled home game until April 17; games in Winnipeg against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday and Tuesday were postponed because of NHL COVID-19 protocol, and the Jets begin a five-game road trip April 8.
Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SNW, SNP, NHL.TV)
The Flames visit the Oilers after their game at the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday was postponed because of NHL COVID-19 protocol. Oilers center Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists) in 37 games.
St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, ALT, BSMW, NHL.TV)
The Blues and Avalanche play the first of six scheduled games in April and for the first time since splitting a season-opening two-game set in Denver on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15. St. Louis returns from a four-day break on a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) and one point ahead of the Arizona Coyotes for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. The Avalanche have points in 12 straight games (10-0-2).
Arizona Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m. ET (BSSC, BSW, BSAZ+, NHL.TV)
Arizona plays the second of a nine-game road trip and won’t play at home until April 17. The Ducks are back home after going 2-3-0 during a five-game road trip, and are 1-for-24 (4.2 percent) on the power play in their past 12 games.
San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. ET (KCOP-13, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)
Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is one assist from 500 in the NHL and can become the 19th defenseman in NHL history with at least 200 goals, 500 assists and 700 points. The Kings are 1-3-0 in their past four games.