NHL On Tap: Sabres return against Islanders after COVID-19 pause

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Sabres back in action

The Buffalo Sabres will play their first game since Jan. 31 when they host the New York Islanders (7 p.m., NBCSN, MSG-B, NHL.TV). The Sabres had six games postponed because of NHL COVID-19 protocols since a 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils. One storyline to watch is the emergence of goalie Linus Ullmark, who is 3-1-2 with a .914 save percentage in six games. If Ullmark’s strong play continues after their hiatus, he could provide top forwards Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall and Victor Olofsson with solid defensive support, helping unlock the team’s full potential. The rust factor may be present for Buffalo, but a tight MassMutual East Division matchup against the Islanders should help them find their footing again. — Rob Reese, fantasy editor

Red Wings a favorite foe for Kane

There’s something about the Detroit Red Wings that gives flight to Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. He has scored four points (one goal, three assists) in two Discover Central Division games against the Red Wings this season, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Kane has averaged nearly a point per game in his career against the Red Wings, scoring 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 51 games. He looks to feast some more on Monday when the teams play the first of two games this week in Detroit (7:30 p.m., ESPN+, FS-D, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV). Kane’s 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) leads the Blackhawks, whose 17 power-play goals are tops in the NHL. Detroit’s penalty kill (71.7 percent) is ranked 27th, so those would be Kane’s eyes lighting up — Dave Stubbs, columnist

Commence, offense

I haven’t had much of a chance to watch the Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl scoring show this season, so I’m looking forward to doing so when the Edmonton Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets (9 p.m. ET; SNW, TSN3, NHL.TV). The Oilers forwards have been spectacular so far; McDavid leads the NHL with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 16 games and Draisaitl is second with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists). It could be a productive game for each team. The Oilers and Jets combined for 17 goals in their first two games this season (Edmonton won 4-3 on Jan. 24, Winnipeg won 6-4 on Jan. 26). We’ll see if McDavid and Draisaitl, who’ve combined for nine points (three goals, six assists) against the Jets, light up the scoreboard again. Fasten your seatbelt. — Tracey Myers, staff writer

Monday schedule

St. Louis Blues at Arizona Coyotes, 4 p.m. ET (NHLN, FS-A, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

The Blues are 3-2-1 in the first six games of seven straight against the Coyotes, including a 5-4 overtime win Saturday.

New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

The Islanders have points in a season-high six consecutive games (3-0-3) after a 4-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET (TSN4, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)

Auston Matthews has a nine-game point streak (12 points; nine goals, three assists) for the Maple Leafs and can join Edmonton Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (10 games each) as the only players to have double-digit point streaks in the NHL this season. Matthews has scored points in his past 12 games played, but the center missed the Jan. 22 games against the Oilers.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (FS-CR, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Seth Jones has seven points (one goal, six assists) in a six-game point streak, one shy of tying the longest streak in Blue Jackets history for a defenseman (seven games; Jaroslav Spacek, 2002-03; Bryan Berard, 2005-06; Zach Werenski, 2019-20).

Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning 7 p.m. ET (SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, SUN, FS-F, NHL.TV)

The Panthers and Lightning conclude their three-game set after splitting the first two (Tampa Bay won 6-1 on Saturday after Florida won 5-2 on Thursday).

Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+, FS-D, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV)

The Blackhawks are 5-1-1 in their past seven games and 2-0-0 against the Red Wings this season.

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS-SW, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

The Stars are 0-2-3 in their past five games, but are 2-0-0 against the Predators this season, outscoring them 10-2.

Winnipeg Jets at Edmonton Oilers, 9 p.m. ET (SNW, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Center Mark Scheifele has a six-game point streak (eight points; three goals, five assists) for the Jets, who have lost two of their past three (1-2-0).

Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN1, SNP, NHL.TV)

The Flames and Canucks close out their three-game set after Vancouver ended a six-game losing streak with a 3-1 win Saturday.

Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSCA, FS-W, NHL.TV)

The Ducks are third in the NHL on the penalty kill (87.2 percent) and have not allowed a power-play goal in their past five games, going 8-for-8.

New Jersey Devils at Boston, Bruins, postponed

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