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 five games Sunday.
Vegas linemates on a roll
Vegas Golden Knights forwards Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty are two of the hottest players in the NHL and will attempt to keep their momentum going against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena (3 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, FS-W, NHL.TV). Through eight games Stone, named Golden Knights captain at the start of the season, leads them in scoring with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists), followed by Pacioretty with 10 points (six goals, four assists). Stone has scored at least one point in seven of eight games and Pacioretty has been on the score sheet in six games. They were in high gear in Vegas’ 5-2 win against Los Angeles on Friday. Returning to the ice after an eight-day pause due to COVID-19 protocols, the Golden Knights (6-1-1) were led by Pacioretty’s three assists and Stone’s two points (one goal, one assist). Because he has the last change as the home team, coach Peter DeBoer was able to keep the line of Stone, Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson away from Kings center Anze Kopitar, one of the top defensive forwards in the NHL. Count on him trying to do the same thing this time around. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
Panthers try to extend season-opening point streak
The Florida Panthers arguably have been one of the biggest surprises in the NHL thus far this season, entering their game against the Detroit Red Wings at BB&T Center (3 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-D, NHL.TV) without a regulation loss through their first eight games (6-0-2). Forward Carter Verhaeghe, who won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, has been a tremendous pickup for the Panthers, scoring six goals in eight games. The Red Wings (2-8-2) have had trouble keeping the puck out of their net (43 goals allowed in 12 games), and it likely won’t get any easier against Panthers forwards Jonathan Huberdeau (12 points; four goals, eight assists) and Aleksander Barkov (11 points; four goals, seven assists), each of whom already has reached double digits in points. — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor
Aho vs. Laine
Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine face each other at Nationwide Arena (3 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, FS-O, FS-CR, NHL.TV) for the first time since Columbus acquired Laine in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 23. Aho and Laine were linemates when Finland won the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, with Aho scoring 14 points (five goals, nine assists) and Laine scoring 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in seven games. Now they’ll face each other eight times in the Discover Central Division this season. Aho is second on the Hurricanes (6-2-0) with eight points (two goals, six assists) in eight games, including a goal and an assist in a 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Playing his second game since the trade, Laine scored his first goal for the Blue Jackets (5-4-3) in a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals, 12 p.m. ET (NBC, SN, TVAS)
It’s the opener of a two-game set at Washington, which will try to avoid a third straight loss. Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk has scored 11 points (three goals, eight assists) during a six-game point streak.
Los Angeles Kings at Vegas Golden Knights, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, FS-W, NHL.TV)
Los Angeles aims to get back on track having lost its past three games (0-3-0) and being outscored 13-6.
Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+, FS-SW, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)
The Stars open an eight-game homestand with the first of two against the Blackhawks after going 1-2-1 on a four-game road trip. Dallas is 4-0-0 at home this season; Chicago is 0-3-3 on the road.
Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers, 3 p.m. ET (FS-F, FS-D, NHL.TV)
Detroit is seeking the first win on its six-game road trip after back-to-back losses at Tampa Bay. The Red Wings are 0-5-1 on the road this season.
Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets, 3 p.m. ET (NHLN, SN, FS-O, FS-CR, NHL.TV)
It’s the third of a six-game road trip for the Hurricanes and the start of a two-game set against the Blue Jackets, who are 3-1-2 at home.