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 Wednesday.
Avalanche can match franchise record
The Colorado Avalanche can match a franchise record for longest point streak when they visit the Minnesota Wild (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, BSN, BSWI+, ALT, NHL.TV). Colorado defeated Minnesota 5-4 on Monday, extending the longest point streak in the NHL this season to 15 games (13-0-2). It’s one short of the Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques record of 12-0-4 in 2000-01. In defeating the Wild for the fifth time this season (5-1-1), the Avalanche extended their lead in the eight-team Honda West Division to four points on the Vegas Golden Knights. Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer extended his own point streak to 13 games (12-0-1), longest in Avalanche/Nordiques history. Colorado ended Minnesota’s 11-game home winning streak, lead the NHL in goals per game (3.61) and is second in goals against per game (2.26). The Wild, who finish their season series against the Avalanche, are third in the division, with the top four teams qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Minnesota forward Kevin Fiala has scored seven points (two goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak. — Tim Campbell, staff writer
Canadiens without two key players vs. Maple Leafs
With a healthy lineup, the Montreal Canadiens would be in deep when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, RDS), who are first in the seven-team Scotia North Division. Without injured No. 1 goalie Carey Price and sparkplug forward Brendan Gallagher, their job seems likely to be a whole lot tougher against a rival that’s riding a four-game winning streak. Price is day to day, remaining in Montreal for treatment of a lower-body injury and giving backup Jake Allen the start. Gallagher is sidelined for an undetermined period with a broken right thumb sustained during a 3-2 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Usual center Jesperi Kotkaniemi will move into Gallagher’s right-wing spot next to center Phillip Danault and left wing Tomas Tatar. That line is sure to have its hands full defending against the Maple Leafs’ top line that includes Auston Matthews, who leads the NHL with 27 goals in 36 games, between wings Zach Hyman and Mitchell Marner. — Dave Stubbs, columnist
Coyotes look to extend streak, cushion in playoff race
The Arizona Coyotes were six points out of a playoff spot and sixth in the West before they rallied to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in a shootout March 23. That win sparked a 6-1-0 run that has elevated Arizona into fourth place in the division. Another win on the road against the Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET; BSW, BSAZ+, NHL.TV) could give the Coyotes an even greater stranglehold on fourth and push the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks further away. The top four teams in the division make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Coyotes defeated the Kings 5-2 on Monday for their third straight win. They have scored 28 goals in their past seven games (4.0 per game) and gotten them from 14 different goal scorers. Goal scoring had been an issue for Arizona, which was averaging 2.38 per game, 27th in the NHL, until its recent seven-game surge. The Kings are the opposite of the Coyotes, having lost three in a row and six of seven (1-6-0). — Dan Rosen, senior writer
Edmonton Oilers at Ottawa Senators, 5 p.m. ET (NBCSN, TVAS, TSN5, SNW)
It’s the first of back-to-back games with the Oilers leading the season series 7-0-0. Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl has scored 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) against Ottawa this season.
Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, SN, RDS, NHL.TV)
Defenseman Joel Edmundson is plus-30, best in the NHL, for the Canadiens, who are 5-1-2 in their past eight games.
Vegas Golden Knights at St. Louis Blues, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, BSMW, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)
The Blues have lost three straight and are 0-6-1 in their past seven games after a 6-1 loss to the Golden Knights on Monday. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is one win from tying Ed Belfour (484) for fourth in NHL history.
Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, BSN, BSWI+, ALT, NHL.TV)
Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in a six-game point streak and leads Colorado with 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in six games against the Wild.
Arizona Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. ET (BSW, BSAZ+, NHL.TV)
The Coyotes can become the first NHL team since the Washington Capitals in 2009-10 to have a hat trick in three consecutive games. Arizona defenseman Jakob Chychrun (Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks) and forward Michael Bunting (Monday against the Kings) each scored a hat trick in the previous two games.