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 three games Monday.
Substance, style powering Rangers
The Rangers have won four of five (4-1-0) and could get Artemi Panarin back when they visit the Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET; SN, BSW, MSG+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) after the forward cleared NHL COVID-19 protocol and practiced Sunday. Panarin, whose 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 31 games are tied with defenseman Adam Fox for the Rangers lead despite playing five fewer games including the past four, returns to a team that’s drawn comparisons to 2011-12, when New York reached the Eastern Conference Final. This season the Rangers (23-9-4) needed the fewest games (36) to earn 50 points since 2011-12, when they finished the regular season second in goals-against (2.22), first in hits (2,419), fourth in blocks (1,338), and tied for first with 53 points on the road (Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks). New York is showing similar grit this season (2.50 goals-against, tied for third with the Pittsburgh Penguins; 952 hits, second; 556 blocks, third; 28 road points, tied with the Calgary Flames for first). Marian Gaborik scored 41 goals in 2011-12. Mika Zibanejad (seven goals, four assists in past eight games) and Fox (tied with Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning for most points by a defenseman) are providing the flair 10 years later. The Kings (17-13-5) will provide a good test, having won three of four, including 4-0 against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. — Jon Lane, staff writer
Avalanche on a roll
Pardon the terrible pun, but it’s fitting. From defenseman Cale Makar‘s amazing overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday to a 7-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday to three unanswered goals in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, the Colorado Avalanche (21-8-2) are surging. They will try to extend their winning streak to five games when they host the Seattle Kraken (10-19-4) on Monday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, ROOT-NW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). The Avalanche are third in the Central Division, three points behind the second-place St. Louis Blues. Oh, and they’re 13-2-1 at home this season, where they will look to extend their Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques record home winning streak to 12 games, which would be the longest by any NHL team since the Boston Bruins in 2018-19 (12 games). Colorado is 12-0-1 in its past 13 games at Ball Arena and will try for a 14-game home point streak, something it’s achieved four times in franchise history — most recently last season when it matched the franchise record of 17 games (16-0-1). — Tracey Myers, staff writer
Bruins’ new second line surging entering game at Capitals
The Bruins look to add to what’s become more balanced scoring when they visit the Washington Capitals on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, NBCSWA, NESN, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). The Bruins (18-11-2) recently split their usual top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, instead playing Pastrnak mostly on the second line at even strength with left wing Taylor Hall and center Erik Haula. Craig Smith moved to the top line with Marchand and Bergeron. The changes created a spark in Hall (six points during a five-game point streak), Haula (four points during a four-game point streak), and Pastrnak (three goals in the past three games). Boston as a whole seems to be rejuvenated, winning four of its past five games (4-0-1). The status of two of the top secondary scorers for the Capitals (20-7-9), forwards Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, and goalie Vitek Vanecek is unknown due to non-COVID-19 illnesses. — Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor
Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, NBCSWA, NESN, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Bruins are 8-1-1 in their past 10 road games, including a 5-2 win at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The Capitals are 0-1-2 in their past three and have not lost consecutive games in regulation this season. Washington forward Lars Eller has scored eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past 10 games.
Seattle Kraken at Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. ET; ALT, ROOT-NW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Kraken play their first game since a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 1; their following three games were postponed. Seattle is 0-4-1 since its most recent win, 3-1 at the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 14. Forward Nazem Kadri leads the Avalanche with 44 points (12 goals, 32 assists) in 28 games.
New York Rangers at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET; SN, BSW, MSG+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
Chris Kreider leads the Rangers with 21 goals and the forward is two away from 200 in the NHL. Kings forward Dustin Brown has scored three points (one goal, two assists) in his past two games and is one shy of 700 points in the NHL.
Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils, postponed
Ottawa Senators at Edmonton Oilers, postponed
Columbus Blue Jackets at Montreal Canadiens, postponed