NHL On Tap: McDavid looks to maintain elite scoring pace for Oilers

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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 six games Tuesday.

McDavid continuing to dazzle

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers will play the first of two straight games at the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, NHL.TV). It’s the first game between the teams since McDavid scored a hat trick and had an assist in a 5-2 win Jan. 14. Since then, the Oilers forward has continued to pile up the points, including his 500th in the NHL against the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 17 and five points (three goals, two assists) in a 7-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday. McDavid leads the NHL with 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) in 20 games. He’s averaging 1.85 points per game; the last player to average that many points in a season when he’s played at least 20 games was Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 (2.30 points per game). Can McDavid keep that pace going for a 56-game season? Seven players in NHL history have averaged at least 1.85 points in at least 56 games: Lemieux, Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Bernie Nicholls, Adam Oates and Steve Yzerman. McDavid has averaged 1.41 points per game against the six other teams in the Scotia North Division during his NHL career, so it will be fascinating to watch. — Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

Chicago charge

Like many, I didn’t expect to see the Chicago Blackhawks near the top of the Discover Central Division this season, especially without center Jonathan Toews, who hasn’t played yet because of a medical issue, but I’m glad to see them holding their own. The Blackhawks are fourth in the division with 22 points, four behind the first-place Florida Panthers, and have played particularly well lately by going 7-2-1 in their past 10 games heading into their game at the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, NBCSCH, NHL.TV). Patrick Kane is the NHL scoring leader outside of the Scotia North Division and tied for fifth in the NHL with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 19 games. I’ll take any excuse to watch him shine. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Oh Canada

Intrigue is the order of the day when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, TSN 2, NHL.TV). Ottawa won the first of the two-game set when forward Brady Tkachuk scored 3:30 into overtime in a 3-2 victory Sunday. It was a feel-good moment for the Senators, who have won five of 20 games this season (5-14-1) and have an NHL-low 11 points. The loss raised the angst in Montreal. The Canadiens are 2-4-1 in their past seven games; and the happiness-inducing start to the season, when they earned at least one point in nine of their first 10 games (7-1-2), has largely been forgotten. Montreal is fourth in the Scotia North Division, nine points behind the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs, and the heat once again is rising. Expect a tight, entertaining game as each of the first three games between the Canadiens and Senators has been decided by one goal. — Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial

Tuesday schedule

Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+, MSG+, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

The Sabres have one win in their past six games (1-5-0), a 3-2 victory against the Devils on Saturday.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN, SN360, SNW, SNP, NBCSWA, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Center Nicklas Backstrom has 698 assists in the NHL and could become the first player in Capitals history with 700 and the third active player to reach that milestone (Maple Leafs forward Joe Thornton, 1,095; Penguins center Sidney Crosby, 810).

Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET (FS-O, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)

This is the fifth game between the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets and the first in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are 2-1-1 in the season series and forward Cam Atkinson leads them with seven points (two goals, five assists).

Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators, 7 p.m. ET (TSN5, RDS, TSN2, NHL.TV)

The Senators have won three of their past five games and are 2-1-0 against the Canadiens this season.

Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS-D+, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

The Red Wings host the Predators for the first of two straight games looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season after a 2-1victory against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN, NHL.TV)

The Canucks have won two of their past 11 games (2-7-2) after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

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