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 Sunday.
Coyotes aim for better start, result vs. Golden Knights
The Arizona Coyotes will try for a better start and result when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights (4 p.m. ET; SN1, ATTSN-RM, BSAZ+, NHL.TV) to close a two-game set. Vegas jumped on Arizona for four first-period goals in a span of 5:41 then weathered a third-period rally by the Coyotes for a 7-4 win Friday. The loss was Arizona’s second straight following a three-game winning streak. The Coyotes are fifth in the eight-team Honda West Division, where the top four teams make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one point behind the fourth-place St. Louis Blues. Second-place Vegas is four points back of the Colorado Avalanche. Coyotes left wing Michael Bunting looks to stay hot with four goals in his past five games, including one Friday. Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty enters Sunday one goal shy of 300 in the NHL; and Coyotes center Derick Brassard needs one point for 500 in the NHL. — William Douglas, staff writer
MacKinnon most valuable
Nathan MacKinnon has put himself firmly in the discussion for the Hart Trophy voted as the most valuable player in the NHL. The Colorado Avalanche forward has been dominant since returning March 10 from a three-game absence because of a head injury and enters their game at the Anaheim Ducks (6 p.m. ET; BSW, ALT, NHL.TV) with 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in an eight-game point streak. He’s scored 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 17 games since coming back; that’s three more points than any player in the NHL during that span. And the Avalanche are an NHL-best 14-1-2 since MacKinnon returned, going from five points behind the Golden Knights for first place in the West on March 9 to four points ahead of Vegas. MacKinnon hasn’t done it all himself since returning. In the past 17 games forwards Mikko Rantanen (11 goals, 11 assists) and Gabriel Landeskog (nine goals, 13 assists) each has scored 22 points and goalies Philipp Grubauer and Jonas Johansson have combined for a .922 save percentage. But it’s MacKinnon who drives the Avalanche and right now he looks like his game is moving at warp speed. — Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor
New York, New York
The New York Islanders are tied for first in the eight-team MassMutual East Division with the Washington Capitals. But the Islanders, who added forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday ahead of the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, are still trying to find their footing with their new additions, each of whom is scoreless in two games. They’ll try again at home Sunday against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG+, MSG 2, NHL.TV), who have picked up some momentum of late. The Rangers are sixth in the East, five points behind the Boston Bruins for the fourth and final playoff spot in the division, and are 7-3-1 in their last 11 games. That includes a 4-1 win against the Islanders on Friday. It was only the second regulation loss this season at home (17-2-2) for the Islanders. The Rangers have been bolstered of late by Alexis Lafreniere, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, who has scored two of his seven goals in the past three games and three in his last seven. Lafreniere has scored 13 points (seven goals, six assists) this season. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
Buffalo Sabres at Philadelphia Flyers, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN, TVAS, NBCSP, MSG-B, NHL.TV)
The Sabres, who traded defenseman Brandon Montour to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, have lost two straight after winning consecutive games for the second time this season.
Arizona Coyotes at Vegas Golden Knights, 4 p.m. ET (SN1, ATTSN-RM, BSAZ+, NHL.TV)
Vegas is 4-1-0 against Arizona and Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore has scored six points (three goals, three assists) in the season series.
Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks, 6 p.m. ET (BSW, ALT, NHL.TV)
Anaheim forward Jakob Silfverberg will play his 600th game in the NHL. The Ducks are 1-3-1 in their past five.
Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET (NHLN, MSG+2, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)
The Penguins look to close out their six-game road trip (3-2-0) by sweeping a back-to-back set at the Devils, whom they defeated 6-4 on Friday. Pittsburgh forward Jake Guentzel has scored eight points (three goals, five assists) in a five-game point streak.
New York Rangers at New York Islanders, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, MSG+, MSG 2, NHL.TV)
Forward Colin Blackwell has scored four points (three goals, one assist) in a three-game goal/point streak for the Rangers, who defeated the Islanders 4-1 on Friday.
Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN, NESN, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)
Goalie Dan Vladar will start for the Bruins, who are expected to be without injured defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk after a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET (BSSO, BSSW+, NHL.TV)
Dallas looks for their third win in a row after defeating the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Saturday. Nashville had its three-game winning streak end when they lost 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.