NHL on Tap: Halls debut for Sabres among top storylines

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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 10 games on Thursday. 

 
Taylor Hall‘s debut with Sabres

Picturing what Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel can accomplish on the same line has been tantalizing since Hall signed a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 11. We’ll get to see what two of the most dynamic forwards in the NHL are capable of doing together when Hall makes his Sabres debut against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN360, SNE, SNO, MSG-B, NBCSWA, NHL.TV). Hall won the Hart Trophy as the MVP in the NHL in 2017-18, but in his 11th season, has never played with a center as skilled as Eichel. And in Hall, Eichel gets a linemate who plays the game at a similar high pace with the ability to score from anywhere on the ice. The Hall-Eichel combo has the potential to make the Sabres one of the more entertaining teams to watch this season. — Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

Canucks, Oilers battle again 

Nothing is more fun than the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with series that build bad blood and storylines that intensify night after night. Usually we don’t get that in the regular season. But with realignment and a compressed schedule, it’s happening two games into the season. The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers play at Rogers Place on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN1, SNP, NHL.TV) for the second consecutive night, after Canucks forward Brock Boeser scored two goals for Vancouver in a 5-3 win Wednesday. Typically it might be weeks before the teams would get a rematch in the regular season. Now, it’s 24 hours. Is Boeser going to pick up where he left off Wednesday? Are the Oilers going to come out firing on the power play after going 0-for-4 in the season opener? Can the Canucks shut down Oilers forward Connor McDavid two nights in a row? And how quickly are these players going to get on each other’s nerves? — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Lafreniere in spotlight for Rangers

Alexis Lafreniere, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut for the New York Rangers, and it definitely will be a game worth watching when they play the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, MSG, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV). There won’t be fans in the stands, which could help ease the nerves of the 19-year-old left wing, who hasn’t played a game since March 8, when he was with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Lafreniere likely will start on the third line but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make an impact in this game and work his way into the top six before too long. It’s the first of eight games this season between the Rangers and Islanders, and what better way to begin your NHL career than a game against one of your biggest rivals? — David Satriano, staff writer

Thursday schedule

Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN360, SNE, SNO, MSG-B, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Boston Bruins at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET (MSG+, NESN, NHL.TV)

New York Islanders at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. ET (NHLN, TVAS, MSG, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

Carolina Hurricanes at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS-D, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET (FS-TN, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Calgary Flames at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m. ET (TSN3, SNW, NHL.TV)

Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN1, SNP, NHL.TV)

San Jose Sharks at Arizona Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET (FS-A, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

Anaheim Ducks at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET (NHLN, ATTSN-RM, PRIME, FS-SD, NHL.TV)

Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. ET (FS-W, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

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