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 Friday.
Ovechkin tries again for power-play goals record
Alex Ovechkin will try again to set the NHL record for most power-play goals when the Washington Capitals (19-6-7) visit the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; BSDET, NBCSWA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). It is the fourth attempt to break the record for the Capitals forward, who tied Dave Andreychuk with 274 power-play goals in a 5-4 overtime loss at the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 15. Ovechkin is also looking to become the third player this season to score 50 points, joining Edmonton Oilers teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, each of whom has 50. Ovechkin has scored 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists) in 36 games. Dylan Larkin and the Red Wings (15-13-3) have not played since a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 18, but the forward has scored five goals in his past three games, including a hat trick against the Devils. — Shawn P. Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial
Goodrow returns to Tampa Bay
After helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup the past two seasons, Barclay Goodrow will face his former team for the first time when he visits Amalie Arena with the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; BSSUN, MSG, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Goodrow scored 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 43 Stanley Cup Playoff games and teamed with Blake Coleman and Yanni Gourde on Tampa Bay’s pivotal third line during its championship runs in 2020 and 2021. But the Lightning didn’t have the NHL salary cap space to re-sign the forward and traded him July 17 to the Rangers, who subsequently signed him to a six-year contract. New York (19-8-4) will see how it measures up to Tampa Bay (21-7-4) in the opener of this home-and-home set that concludes at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. — Tom Gulitti, Staff Writer
Ducks, Golden Knights in first-place showdown
The Vegas Golden Knights (21-12-0) will try to stay in first place in the Pacific Division when they host the Anaheim Ducks (17-9-7) in a matinee to close out the year at T-Mobile Arena on Friday (3 p.m. ET; SN1, ATTSN-RM, BSSC, BSSD, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). The Golden Knights have 42 points in 33 games, one more point than the Ducks in the same number of games. Vegas is 9-2-0 in December, including a 6-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Anaheim hasn’t won since Dec. 15; it had four games postponed and lost in overtime at home 6-5 against the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 17 and 2-1 against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. — Dan Rosen, Senior Writer
Edmonton Oilers at New Jersey Devils (1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
Leon Draisaitl leads the NHL with 24 goals, Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 33 assists, and they share the League lead with 50 points in 30 games for Edmonton (18-12-0). New Jersey (11-15-5) ended a six-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. Devils forward Michael McLeod will face younger brother Ryan McLeod, an Oilers forward, in the NHL for the first time.
Anaheim Ducks at Vegas Golden Knights (3 p.m. ET; SN1, ATTSN-RM, BSSC, BSSD, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Golden Knights and Ducks split their first two meetings this season with each winning at home. Vegas won 5-4 in a shootout Oct. 29 and Anaheim won 6-5 on Dec. 1. Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could return to the lineup after missing two games when in NHL COVID-19 protocol, but forward Max Pacioretty is out indefinitely after he had wrist surgery this week.
New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET; BSSUN, MSG, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Lightning lead the NHL with 46 points despite having their four-game winning streak snapped with a 9-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. The Rangers have two wins in their past seven games (2-4-1) following a seven-game winning streak.
Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; BSDET, NBCSWA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
Detroit is 11-3-2 at home, but one of the three home regulation losses was 2-0 to the Capitals on Nov. 11. Washington is 9-3-3 on the road. The Capitals power play is 1-for-27 (3.7 percent) since Nov. 30, including 0-for-12 the past two games.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators, postponed
Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars, postponed
Winnipeg Jets at Calgary Flames, postponed