NHL On Tap: Marchand, Bruins look to stay hot against Zibanejad, Rangers


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 two games Friday.

Marchand looks to stay on a roll

Life is good for the Boston Bruins right now, but it’s especially good for Brad Marchand, who has a nine-game point streak heading into Boston’s game at the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS, MSG+, NESN, NHL.TV). The forward has scored 13 points (seven goals, six assists) during this streak, including the game-winning goal in a 3-2 overtime win against the Rangers on Wednesday. Marchand is closing in on his NHL career-high point streak of 13 games, when he scored 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) from Oct. 5-Nov. 4, 2019. He can be infuriating to opponents. He can be a Grade-A pest. But he’s also a fantastic scorer and the Bruins (9-1-2), who have won four games in a row and lead the MassMutual East Division, are benefitting from his latest streak. ­– Tracey Myers, staff writer

Zibanejad ready to break through

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Marchand. He has no goals and one assist in his past nine games entering New York’s rematch with Boston. But Zibanejad, who scored an NHL career-high 41 goals in 57 games last season, appeared on the verge of ending his slump against the Bruins on Wednesday. Zibanejad did everything but score, getting four shots on goal and six shot attempts. Although he was thwarted by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask with a pair of impressive saves in the second period that left Zibanejad shaking his head, the puck will start going in for him eventually if he keeps playing like he did Wednesday. That would be good news for the Rangers (4-5-3), who are 3-1-2 in their past six games but sixth in the East. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Coyotes seek fourth straight win against Blues

The Arizona Coyotes look for their fourth consecutive win against the St. Louis Blues since Feb. 4 when the Honda West Division rivals play at Gila River Arena (9 p.m. ET; ESPN +, FS-A PLUS, FS-MW, NHL.TV). This is the fifth of seven consecutive games between the Coyotes and Blues, and the first of three straight in Arizona. Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak has scored six points (four goals, two assists) in the four games against the Blues, including a goal and an assist in their 4-3 shootout win Monday. St. Louis center Ryan O’Reilly has scored five points (four goals, one assist) against Arizona, including two goals and one assist Monday. If familiarity breeds contempt from the condensed schedule and new divisions, the Blues-Coyotes series is a perfect test. — William Douglas, staff writer

Friday schedule

Boston Bruins at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. ET (NHLN, SN, TVAS, MSG+, NESN, NHL.TV)

The Rangers have played 10 consecutive games decided by two goals or fewer and are 3-4-3 in that span.

St. Louis Blues at Arizona Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+, FS-A PLUS, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Coyotes forward Conor Garland has scored seven points (three goals, four assists) during a five-game point streak.

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