On Tap: Maple Leafs, Senators return to action after break, postponements

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Maple Leafs, Senators return from postponements

The Toronto Maple Leafs (20-8-2) host the Ottawa Senators (9-17-2) on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) and each team is returning from a lengthy layoff. The Maple Leafs have not played since a 5-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 14, having their past six games postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. They have seven players with at least six goals and eight players with at least 15 points. The Senators have not played since a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 18, having six games postponed. Forward Drake Batherson, who leads the Senators with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 23 games, doesn’t have a point in his past two following a six-game point streak (two goals, 10 assists). — David Satriano, staff writer

 

Hurricanes look to continue roll

The Carolina Hurricanes hope to begin 2022 like they ended 2021 when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; BSOH, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Carolina (22-7-1) has won three straight and seven of its past eight. The Hurricanes had an NHL-best .727 points percentage (58-19-9) in the 2021 calendar year. Carolina center Sebastian Aho has six straight multipoint games (five goals, nine assists). Columbus (15-13-1) is 5-0-1 in its past six home games and 10-3-1 this season. Forward Patrik Laine returned after missing 19 games with an oblique injury and scored in a 4-3 shootout win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

 

Winter wonderland in Minnesota

The St. Louis Blues will play the Minnesota Wild in the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Target Field in Minneapolis (7 p.m. ET; TNT, SN1, TVAS, NHL LIVE). It is the first Winter Classic since the Dallas Stars defeated the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Jan. 1, 2020 at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Texas. The NHL postponed the events scheduled for the 2020-21 season, including the Winter Classic in Minnesota because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Blues (18-9-5) lead the Central Division, one point ahead of the Wild (19-9-2) and Predators. Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko has scored nine points (five goals, four assists) in a four-game point streak. Forward Pavel Buchnevich was cleared to play after he was scratched Wednesday because of a non-COVID related illness. Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov has scored 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past 11 games, and forward Ryan Hartman has scored 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his past 12 games. — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

 

Saturday schedule

Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins (1 p.m. ET; NESN, MSG-B, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Bruins (14-10-2) will be playing their first game since Dec. 16 after having six games postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin has scored five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games for the Sabres (10-17-5), who have lost twice since resuming play Wednesday.

Montreal Canadiens at Florida Panthers (1 p.m., ET; BSFL, TSN2, RDS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Canadiens (7-22-4) have lost nine of their past 10, scoring 16 goals in that span. Jonathan Huberdeau scored five points (one goal, four assists) for the Panthers (20-7-4) in a 9-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, the second time he scored five points in a game this season (Dec. 2 vs. Buffalo Sabres).

Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets (1 p.m., ET; BSOH, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi has scored six points (one goal, five assists) in a four-game point streak for Carolina. Columbus, which defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 in a shootout Thursday, looks for consecutive wins for the first time since a three-game streak from Nov. 22-26.

Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators (2 p.m. ET, BSSO, NBCSCH, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Chicago (11-15-4), which has not played since Dec. 18 after having four games postponed, has one win in a three-game point streak. Forward Alex DeBrincat leads the Blackhawks with 17 goals; no one else has scored more than eight. Forward Filip Forsberg has scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past six games for Nashville (19-11-2).

Edmonton Oilers at New York Islanders (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG+, NHL LIVE)

The Oilers (18-12-1) trailed by one goal four times before losing 6-5 in overtime to the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Edmonton continues a four-game road trip, during which they also play the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Islanders (9-12-6), who defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 Thursday, can extend their point streak to four games.

St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild (7 p.m. ET; TNT, SN1, TVAS, NHL LIVE)

The Blues won their only other outdoor game, 4-1 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017 Winter Classic at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Wild won their only outdoor game, 5-1 against the Blackhawks in the 2016 Stadium Series at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner and defenseman Rasmus Sandin each will return after an injury absence. Toronto center Auston Matthews has scored 13 goals in his past 10 games. The Senators could be without forward Josh Norris, their second leading scorer (22 points), who was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Friday. Ottawa and Toronto each won a game in a season-opening home-and home series.

Vancouver Canucks at Seattle Kraken (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, CITY, ROOT-NW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Canucks (15-15-3) are 7-0-1 in the eight games since coach Bruce Boudreau was hired to replace Travis Green on Dec. 5. The Kraken (10-18-4) have one win in their past eight games (1-5-2) and have lost six in a row at Climate Pledge Arena.

Philadelphia Flyers at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET; BSW, NBCSP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Forward Travis Konecny has four assists in his past three games for the Flyers (13-12-6), who can extend their point streak to eight games. Forward Viktor Arvidsson has scored one goal in his past seven games for the Kings (15-12-5).

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