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 two games Wednesday.
Senators hope to get going
One of the storylines during the offseason was how much the Ottawa Senators improved their roster. But they are 1-4-1 after a 7-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday and one would expect them to have a growing sense it’s time to get their game in order. The Senators have shown plenty of grit and spunk this season, but they need more than that to win games. With a second straight game against the Canucks at Rogers Arena (8 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, NHL.TV), and a third Thursday, the anticipation is for something a whole lot better and likely to be led by key core players like forwards Brady Tkachuk and Evgenii Dadonov and defenseman Thomas Chabot. — Tim Campbell, staff writer
Predators looking for more
Roman Josi made a play in overtime for the Nashville Predators on Tuesday that was worthy of the Norris Trophy he won voted as best defenseman in the NHL last season. Josi revved himself up at the blue line, got the puck from forward Mikael Granlund on the right side and took it to the net, making a power move before scoring on Chicago Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban to give Nashville a 3-2 win. It was a needed victory for the struggling Predators and a needed goal for Josi, his first and the first scored by a Nashville defenseman this season. The Predators, who ended a three-game losing streak (0-3-0), were down a goal twice in the game and came back each time. It should be a confidence-building win for the Predators even if their penalty kill continues to struggle (8-for-18 in past four games). They need a stronger performance against the Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN) to get another two points and feel good before going on the road for four straight games, two each against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
Canucks aim to build on big win
It seems that Ottawa was what the doctor ordered for Vancouver. The Canucks were outscored 12-5 in two straight home losses to the Montreal Canadiens before the Senators arrived at Rogers Arena on Monday. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson said the key for Ottawa after the 7-1 loss is “to play like you were embarrassed,” which clearly, they were. For the Canucks (3-5-0), one game hardly qualifies as a rally. They have two wins in their past seven games and are the most porous team in the NHL having allowed 34 goals in their games. But they’ll take their one victory in a row and hope to build on it in the first of back-to-back games against a seemingly fragile Senators team trying to find a way — any way — to get their second win of the season. — Dave Stubbs, columnist
Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
The Blackhawks will try to rebound after the loss Tuesday, when forward Patrick Kane was minus-2 and did not have a shot on goal, ending a five-game scoring streak (seven points; three goals, four assists). The Predators come off their first victory since their second game of the season after being outscored 14-4 during their three-game skid.
Ottawa Senators at Vancouver Canucks, 8 p.m. ET (SN, TVAS, NHL.TV)
The Senators are winless in their past five games (0-4-1) and coach D.J. Smith hinted lineup changes might be coming after the loss Monday. “We got some guys that maybe are taking for granted positions in the National Hockey League,” he said. Canucks forward Brandon Sutter scored his first NHL hat trick in his 735th game.