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 seven games Wednesday.
McDavid, Robertson square off
Two of the top goal scorers in the NHL meet when the Edmonton Oilers face the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center (9:30 p.m. ET; TNT, SN1, TVAS, SN NOW). Connor McDavid leads the League in goals (28), points (64) and is riding a 13-game point streak (12 goals, 17 assists), including three goals in his past five games. Jason Robertson has cooled off some since his 18-game point streak (21 goals, 13 assists) ended Dec. 6, but he’s third in the NHL in goals (24), behind Tage Thompson (26) and McDavid, and ended a seven-game drought with an empty-net goal in Dallas’ 2-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. Robertson had a goal and two assists in the Stars’ 6-2 win against the Oilers on Nov. 5, while McDavid had one assist. The Oilers (17-14-2) have lost three straight games (0-1-2) while the Stars (19-8-6) return home after going 3-1-1 on a five-game road trip. — William Douglas, staff writer
Panthers hoping to toughen up, heal during trying stretch
The Florida Panthers (15-14-4) hope the adversity they’ve faced this season will make them a tougher team should they reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After winning the Presidents’ Trophy last season as the top team in the regular season, they’ve lost five of eight (3-5-0) entering their home game against the New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET; TNT, SN NOW), center Aleksander Barkov is out because of a lower-body injury sustained when the teams played Saturday, and they’re still missing forwards Anthony Duclair (Achilles) and Patric Hornqvist (concussion), and defenseman Radko Gudas (concussion). If it’s any consolation, Barkov is considered day to day and the Devils (21-9-2) arrive having lost six straight games (0-5-1) after a 4-1 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood could make his first NHL start since Nov. 3. He rejoined the Devils on Monday after a conditioning stint with Utica of the American Hockey League in his comeback from a knee injury, and made seven saves on eight shots in the third period Tuesday in relief of Vitek Vanecek . — Jon Lane, staff writer
Blashill returns to Detroit
Jeff Blashill returns home when the Tampa Bay Lightning play the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena (7 p.m. ET; BSDETX, BSSUN, ESPN+, SN NOW). The Michigan native went 204-261-72 as the Red Wings coach from 2015-22, guiding them through a transitional period. He and former Lightning assistant Derek Lalonde essentially switched jobs in the offseason, and Detroit made a splash in the offseason, signing several free agents, including forwards David Perron and Dominik Kubalik, who are tied with Dylan Larkin for the Detroit lead in goals (10). But the Red Wings still are trying to gain traction. On this day a year ago they had 33 points (15-13-3) in 31 games and were fourth in the Atlantic Division. Now? They have 33 points (13-11-7) in 31 games and are sixth in the Atlantic. The Lightning (20-10-1) had their five-game winning streak end in a 4-1 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist
New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET; TNT, SN NOW)
Devils forward Dawson Mercer will play his 115th consecutive game, the third-longest to start an NHL career since New Jersey joined the League as the Kansas City Scouts in 1974-75. Ed Gilbert played 121 straight for the Scouts (1974-76) and Scott Gomez played 140 straight for the Devils (1999-2001). Panthers forward Sam Reinhart has scored in four straight games and has eight points (five goals, three assists) during the run. Forward Anton Lundell is expected to play after missing nine games because of an upper-body injury.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET; BSDETX, BSSUN, ESPN+, SN NOW)
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos has a point in 16 of his past 17 games (nine goals, 15 assists) and is three goals from 500 in the NHL. The Red Wings have lost six straight (0-4-2) since a 4-2 win at the Lightning on Dec. 6.
Montreal Canadiens at Colorado Avalanche (8 p.m. ET; SN, ALT, RDS, ESPN+)
The Canadiens (15-15-2) ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 overtime win at the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. Cole Caufield, 21, needs one goal to join Stephane Richer and Guy Lafleur as the only Montreal players with consecutive 20-goal seasons before age 22. The Avalanche (17-11-2) have won four of their past five games (4-1-0). Mikko Rantanen has scored five goals in his past five games, and with 21 goals is tied for fifth in the NHL with Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak and Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl.
Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, BSSO, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Predators (13-13-4) had lost six straight games (0-4-2) before a 4-3 overtime win against the Oilers on Monday. Filip Forsberg leads them with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 30 games. The Blackhawks (7-19-4) have 18 points and are last in the NHL standings. Patrick Kane leads them with 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in 30 games.
Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars (9:30. p.m. ET; TNT, SN1, TVAS, SN NOW)
Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie has 11 points, all assists, during a seven-game point streak. With his 2-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday in his 100th NHL game, Stars goalie Jake Oettinger is 54-27-11, the second-most wins in his first 100 games in Stars/Minnesota North Stars history behind Ed Belfour (60). Dallas forward Tyler Seguin is two assists from 400 in the NHL.
Arizona Coyotes at Vegas Golden Knights (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, BSAZ, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Coyotes (10-15-5) have lost nine of their past 12 games (3-6-3). All eyes are on defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 14 games since making his season debut Nov. 21 following offseason wrist surgery and could be a trade target. The Golden Knights (22-11-1) are first in the Pacific Division, but they have lost two straight and are 1-6-0 in their past seven home games. Forward Chandler Stephenson is on a five-game point streak (two goals, six assists).
Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. ET; BSW, BSWI, BSNX, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Wild (18-11-2) have won five straight. Kirill Kaprizov has 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) in 31 games, tied for seventh in the NHL with Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. The Ducks (9-21-3) had won two straight before a 4-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Troy Terry leads them with 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 33 games.