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 four games on Friday.
The surprising Chicago Blackhawks visit the Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-CR, NBCSCH, NHL.TV) in an intriguing game in the Discover Central Division. The top four in the Central — the Florida Panthers (22 points), Chicago (22), the Tampa Bay Lightning (21) and Carolina (21) — are separated by one point. After going 2-4-3 in their first nine games, the Blackhawks (9-5-4) are 7-1-1 in their past nine, including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Hurricanes on Feb. 2 and a 6-4 win against them Feb. 4. Rookie goalie Kevin Lankinen got his first NHL shutout by making 29 saves in Chicago’s 2-0 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. He is 7-2-3 in 12 games and his .931 save percentage is third among NHL goalies to play at least 10 games. The Hurricanes are 3-0-1 in their past four games but are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Panthers after leading 2-0 on Wednesday. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Johnny’s still good
Johnny Gaudreau is off to a great start and he’ll have a chance to add to his point total when the Calgary Flames visit the Edmonton Oilers (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNW, TVAS, NHL.TV). The forward took a lot of heat last season when he scored 58 points (18 goals, 40 assists) in 70 games after he had scored 99 points (36 goals, 63 points) in 82 games in 2018-19. But Gaudreau has rebounded, leading the Flames with 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 16 games, including two points (one goal, one assist) in a 6-4 win against the Oilers on Feb. 6. Edmonton has won four of its past five games since that loss and is 7-3-0 in its past 10 games. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
Galaxy of stars gather in Vancouver
Five players averaging at least 1.00 point per game will play when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNP, TSN3, NHL.TV). Jets forward Mark Scheifele has scored 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 16 games, and Canucks forward Brock Boeser is right behind him with 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) in 21 games. They are joined by Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, who has scored 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) in 20 games and Jets forwards Nikolaj Ehlers who has scored 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in 18 games and Kyle Connor, who has scored 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 16 games. The fireworks should be plentiful in what has been a wide-open Scotia North Division. — Shawn P. Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial
Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (NHLN, FS-CR, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)
Hurricanes center Jordan Staal has scored six points (five goals, one assist) during a four-game point and goal streak.
Florida Panthers at Detroit Red Wings, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, FS-D, FS-F, NHL.TV)
The Panthers have not lost in regulation on the road this season (5-0-1); the Red Wings have lost four straight home games (0-2-2).
Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNW, TVAS, NHL.TV)
The Battle of Alberta heats up as the Oilers and Flames play the first of a back to back, with the second game scheduled for Saturday in Edmonton.
Winnipeg Jets at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET (NHLN, SNP, TSN3, NHL.TV)
Jets center Mark Scheifele has scored 12 points (five goals, seven assists) during an eight-game point streak; Canucks forward Brock Boeser has scored five points (two goals, three assists) in his past two games.