McDavid, Oilers return after break
The Edmonton Oilers (18-14-2) will play their first game since Jan. 5 after having four postponed. Edmonton will host the Ottawa Senators (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE), who are coming off a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Thursday. Connor McDavid will be back for the Oilers after missing one game in NHL COVID-19 protocol. He is tied for the NHL lead in points (53) with teammate Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers are 0-3-2 in their past five games, having been outscored 21-12, and have two wins in their past 13 games (2-9-2). The Senators (10-18-2) are playing their third game since Dec. 18, having had nine games postponed in that span. — David Satriano, staff writer
Lightning back on top
So much for struggling through the regular season after winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021. The Tampa Bay Lightning (25-9-5) are tied for first in the Atlantic Division with the Florida Panthers, and will look to win their third straight game when they host the Dallas Stars (18-14-2) on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; BSSUN, BSSW+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Forward Steven Stamkos is having a tremendous season, leading the Lightning in scoring with 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) in 38 games. The same goes for Victor Hedman, who leads NHL defensemen with 39 points (seven goals, 32 assists) in 39 games. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to be one of the best in the NHL; he’s 21-6-3 with a 2.18 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and two shutouts in 30 games. Will the Lightning win the Cup again this season? I don’t know, but they’re certainly clicking on all cylinders. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
Bruins go for fifth straight win
The Boston Bruins are finding their groove, and they’ll try for their fifth straight win when they host the Nashville Predators (1 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, NESN, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Boston (21-11-2) received a boost Thursday with the return of goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 25 saves in his season debut, a 3-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. Bruins forward Brad Marchand has scored eight goals during a five-game point streak, and forward David Pastrnak, who had a hat trick Thursday, has scored seven goals in his past four games. The Predators (24-12-2) had their five-game win streak end with a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday but are 12-2-1 in their past 15 games. Center Matt Duchene has scored four goals during a four-game point streak. — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor
Nashville Predators at Boston Bruins (1 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, NESN, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Predators look to continue their success on the road where they are 13-6-2. Nashville goalie Juuse Saros has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his past 11 games (9-2-0). The Bruins have outscored opponents 20-8 during their four-game winning streak.
Vancouver Canucks at Carolina Hurricanes (1 p.m. ET; BSSO, SNP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Canucks (16-17-3) have lost two straight games for the first time since Bruce Boudreau was named coach Dec. 5 and continue a five-game road trip. The Hurricanes (24-8-2) seek to avoid losing three straight games for the second time this season. Carolina forward Sebastian Aho has scored 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in his past 10 games.
Washington Capitals at New York Islanders (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, MSG+, NBCSWA, NHL LIVE)
Alex Ovechkin is expected to play for the Capitals (20-8-9) after dealing with an upper-body injury this week. He is third in the NHL with 52 points and tied for second with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews with 24 goals. The Islanders (11-12-6) look to extend their season-long winning streak to four games. Forward Mathew Barzal has scored 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in a personal nine-game point streak.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers (6 p.m. ET; BSFL, BSOH, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
Columbus (17-17-1), which defeated Carolina 6-0 on Thursday, will look to win consecutive games for the first time since winning three straight Nov. 22-26. Forward Alexandre Texier has scored six points (two goals, four assists) in his past five games. Florida (25-7-5) is 20-3-0 at home this season after a 7-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Friday. Forward Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists in that game to extend his point streak to seven games (18 points; four goals, 14 assists).
Toronto Maple Leafs at St. Louis Blues (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, CITY, BSMW, NHL LIVE)
The Maple Leafs (23-9-3) will get Mitchell Marner back after the forward missed three games in NHL COVID-19 protocol. Matthews will try to score a road goal for the 10th straight game, the third-longest streak in NHL history. The Blues (22-10-5) are hoping to get back forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn and defensemen Colton Parayko and Scott Perunovich, who were each removed from protocol. St. Louis will be without forward Pavel Buchnevich, who entered protocol Friday.
Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET; BSDET, MSG-B, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Sabres (11-19-6) go for their second win in a row after losing six straight. Buffalo forward Jeff Skinner has scored four goals in his past four games. The Red Wings (16-17-5) will try to end a four-game skid (0-2-2) in which they have been outscored 14-5, including being shut out twice.
Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET; BSSUN, BSSW+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
This is the second half of back-to-back games for the Stars, who lost 7-1 to the Panthers on Friday. The Lightning are 13-4-3 at Amalie Arena this season and the Stars are 4-11-1 away from home. Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov has scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in four games after spending nearly three months on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, NBCSP, MSG+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Rangers (24-10-4) conclude a five-game road trip and seek to defeat the Flyers for the second time this season (4-1 on Dec. 1). Rangers forward Chris Kreider has scored four goals in his past five games and his 23 this season are tied with Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat for fourth in the NHL. The Flyers (13-16-7) are 0-4-2 in their past six games, having been outscored 25-12.
Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH+, KCOP-13, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Ducks (19-14-7) could be without forward Troy Terry, who was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Friday and did not play in a 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Terry leads Anaheim in scoring with 36 points (22 goals, 14 assists) in 38 games. The Blackhawks (14-18-5) have won three in a row. Forward Patrick Kane leads them in scoring 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) in 33 games and has a six-game point streak (one goal, seven assists).
Colorado Avalanche at Arizona Coyotes (9 p.m. ET; BSAZ, ALT2, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
It’s the second half of a home-and-home set between these two teams. Colorado won 4-3 in a shootout at home Friday. Defenseman Cale Makar has scored seven points (two goals, five assists) in a four-game point streak for the Avalanche (23-8-3). The Coyotes (8-23-4) are 4-12-1 at Gila River Arena this season. Arizona forward Alex Galchenyuk is expected to play his 600th NHL game.
Los Angeles Kings at Seattle Kraken (10 p.m. ET; ROOT-NW, BSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Kings (19-13-5) enter with a three-game winning streak and have outscored opponents 13-3, including a 6-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday when they scored three goals in 1:23 in the third period. The Kraken (10-22-4) have lost eight in a row (0-7-1) and 11 of their past 12. Seattle went 0-3-0 on its road trip (Jan. 10-13), including two losses despite leading after two periods.
Ottawa Senators at Edmonton Oilers (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Senators will be without forward Connor Brown, who sustained a broken jaw Thursday and was placed on injured reserve. The Oilers are 10-0-0 this season when scoring first.
Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
Pittsburgh (21-10-5) plays the fifth of a six-game road trip; it has split the first four following a 6-2 loss at Los Angeles on Thursday. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has scored 10 points (goal, nine assists) during a six-game point streak. The Sharks (20-17-1) had a three-game winning streak end with a 3-0 loss to the Rangers on Thursday.
New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens, postponed
Ottawa Senators at Winnipeg Jets, postponed
Vegas Golden Knights at Calgary Flames, postponed