NHL On Tap: Rantanen looks to extend goal streak for Avalanche vs. Sharks

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Rantanen’s goal streak; Marleau’s milestone

Mikko Rantanen looks to extend his six-game goal streak, the longest in the NHL this season, for the Colorado Avalanche against the San Jose Sharks at Ball Arena (9 p.m. ET; ALT, NBCSCA, NHL.TV). The Avalanche defeated the Sharks 7-3 on Tuesday in their first matchup of the season as opponents in the Honda West Division. San Jose defensemen Brent Burns (averaging 27:23 of ice time per game, second in the NHL behind Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang‘s 27:35) and Erik Karlsson (27:13) will be relied upon heavily to not only contain Colorado’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Cale Makar (three assists on Tuesday) but match their offense, too. Sharks forward Patrick Marleau is expected to play his 1,731st NHL game, which would tie him with Ron Francis for fourth on the NHL all-time list behind Gordie Howe (1,767), Mark Messier (1,756) and Jaromir Jagr (1,733). — Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor

Canadiens come home

Excitement is building in Montreal after the Canadiens went 4-0-2 on their season-opening six-game road trip. The Canadiens hope that momentum carries over to their home opener against the Calgary Flames at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, SNW, NHL.TV). Montreal wants to be a more difficult team to play against, and that goal will be put to the test against Calgary, which plays a heavy grinding game in the corners and in the dirty areas in front of the net. In a game that features the Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk, Milan Lucic and Sam Bennett and the Canadiens’ Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson and Corey Perry, every inch of ice will be contested. It should be fun watching those individual battles, especially with the Flames looking to bounce back after two straight losses on home ice to the Toronto Maple Leafs. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Carolina on our mind

The Carolina Hurricanes are scheduled to resume their season when they host to the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, SUN, NHL.TV). It will be the first game for the Hurricanes in 10 days following a COVID-19 outbreak; their last game was a 4-2 win at the Nashville Predators on Jan. 18. Carolina players were not able to skate during the pause but managed to maintain some level of fitness on their own after training facilities were closed. Forwards Jesper Fast, Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen, and defenseman Jaccob Slavin were placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol last week. Staal is expected to play, but the others are not. It’ll be interesting to see how the Hurricanes, with a depleted lineup and an extended layoff, fare against the defending Stanley Cup champions. — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

Thursday schedule

Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SNE, SNO, SNP, NESN, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Goalie Jaroslav Halak is expected to start for the Bruins, who extended their winning streak to three games with an overtime win against the Penguins on Tuesday.

New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET (MSG-B, MSG, NHL.TV)

The Rangers look to end a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) and avenge a 3-2 loss to the Sabres on Tuesday. 

Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET (MSG+, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

The Devils, off to a 3-2-1 start, look to rebound after a 5-3 loss to Flyers on Tuesday.

New York Islanders at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSWA, MSG+2, NHL.TV)

The Capitals will try to extend their season-opening point streak to eight games against the Islanders. The Capitals are 4-0-3, including a 3- 2 win against the Islanders on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (FS-CR, SUN, NHL.TV)

The Hurricanes play their first game since Jan. 18 due to a COVID-19 outbreak, while the Lightning play for the first time since a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. 

Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET (FS-O, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Forward Jack Roslovic, acquired by the Blue Jackets from the Winnipeg Jets along with forward Patrik Laine on Saturday for center Pierre-Luc Dubois, is expected to make his debut for his hometown team. 

Calgary Flames at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET (TSN2, RDS, SNW, NHL.TV)

The Canadiens have a +11 goal differential (29 goals for, 18 against), tops in the NHL, and have yet to lose in regulation this season (4-0-2)

Los Angeles Kings at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET (FS-N, FS-WI, FS-W, NHL.TV)

The Kings look for their third straight win and fourth victory in five games. They defeated the Wild 2-1 on Tuesday. 

Detroit Red Wings at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS-SW, FS-D+, NHL.TV)

The Stars look to start a season 4-0-0 for the first time since 2010-11 and try for a second straight win against the Red Wings, whom they defeated 2-1 on Tuesday. 

St. Louis Blues at Vegas Golden Knights, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

The Golden Knights look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season, a 5-4 shootout loss to the Blues on Tuesday. 

San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET (ALT, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

The Sharks look to bounce back from a 7-3 loss to the Avalanche on Tuesday and a earn a split of their two-game series. They have split against the Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild in previous two-game sets this season. 

Anaheim Ducks at Arizona Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET (FS-A PLUS, KCOP-13, NHL.TV)

The Coyotes look to get on the board in the second of this two-game series after being shutout 1-0 by John Gibson on Tuesday. 

Ottawa Senators at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET (SNP, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)

The Canucks look to complete a sweep of this three-game series after defeating the Senators 7-1 on Monday and 5-1 on Wednesday.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Edmonton Oilers, 10 p.m. ET (SNW, TSN4, NHL.TV)

The Maple Leafs and Oilers meet for the third time this season. Edmonton won 3-1 on Jan. 20 and Toronto won 4-2 on Jan. 22.

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