NHL On Tap: Sabres strong start to season to be tested by Lightning

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Panthers look to win sixth straight game

Two undefeated teams, the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks, each lost Sunday, which means there are four remaining: the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, St, Louis Blues and Florida Panthers. After playing four of their first five games against teams that made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and then Saturday against Philadelphia Flyers, who at the time were leading the NHL with 5.33 goals per game, the Panthers (5-0-0) would seem to be catching a bit of a break Monday, playing the winless Arizona Coyotes (0-4-1) at home (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, BSAZ, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Of course, no NHL game is easy and it will again be interesting to see how the Panthers try to keep their streak going. For the Coyotes, getting their first win would be a big boost to a season that hasn’t exactly gone their way so far. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Hurricanes’ Andersen to face former team

The Maple Leafs, who have lost three straight, including 7-1 at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, visit the undefeated (4-0-0) Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) on Monday. A key storyline will be Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen, who played the previous five seasons with Toronto, facing his former team for the first time since agreeing to a two-year contract with Carolina on July 28. Andersen is 4-0-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average and .944 save percentage this season. The Maple Leafs, with a minus-7 goal differential, need their offense to get going. Center Auston Matthews, the NHL goals leader with 41 in 52 games last season, has not scored a point in three games after missing the first three games of the season recovering from wrist surgery. Center John Tavares has scored one goal in six games and forward Mitchell Marner has one assist in six games. — Dave Stubbs, columnist

 

Surprising Sabres host defending champion Lightning

The Buffalo Sabres, who have earned points in four of their first five games of the season (3-1-1), host the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BSSUN, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). The Sabres have won three of their first four home games (3-1-0) and have outshot their opponents in four of their five games. The Lightning (2-2-1), who are without top forward Nikita Kucherov (lower body; out indefinitely), have been outscored 20-15 this season. — Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor

 
Monday schedule

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

The Lightning have yet to hold a lead in regulation, though they have five points in the standings. They’ll get another chance against the better-than-expected Sabres, who have lost their last two games (0-1-1) after winning their first three.

Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; SN1, RDS, NBCSWA+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Senators will be without goalie Matt Murray, who was placed on injured reserve after being injured against the New York Rangers on Saturday. Anton Forsberg and Filip Gustavsson will be the options against the Capitals (3-0-2), who have yet to lose in regulation this season. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin has scored 10 points (five goals, five assists) during a season-opening five-game point streak.

Arizona Coyotes at Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, BSAZ, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Coyotes head out on the road for the first time, a six-game trip spanning the next two weeks that starts in Florida against the Panthers. The Panthers and Edmonton Oilers are the only two teams to have reached five wins so far, with the Panthers having the first crack at getting to six.

Calgary Flames at New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; SNW, MSG, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Rangers could have forwards Kaapo Kakko and Ryan Strome in the lineup against the Flames. Kakko, who has been out the past three games because of an upper-body injury, wore a non-contact jersey during practice Sunday. Strome has been out four games since being placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Oct. 15.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Auston Matthews remains one goal from 200 in the NHL; he has gone scoreless in three games this season. He’ll make another attempt for it against one of the four remaining undefeated teams in the NHL. The Hurricanes are 4-0-0, giving Rod Brind’Amour the third longest season-opening win streak for the reigning Jack Adams Award winner, after Lindy Ruff (10-0-0 in 2006-07, Buffalo Sabres) and Pat Burns (10-0-0 in 1993-94, Toronto Maple Leafs).

Dallas Stars at Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET; BSOH, BSSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Stars are expected to get back defenseman John Klingberg, who has been out the past four games since sustaining a lower-body injury in the Stars’ season opener Oct. 14. That would be a boost for Dallas, which has won its past two games after losing two straight. Columbus is looking to rebound from a 5-1 loss at home to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET; BSMW, BSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The undefeated Blues (4-0-0) have scored seven goals twice in their past three games and are averaging an NHL-best 5.50 goals per game this season. The four wins to open the season matches the longest streak in Blues history, also done in 2013-14 and 2017-18. The Kings have lost four straight (0-3-1), including 7-3 at the Blues on Saturday.

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