Welcome to NHL On Tap. Three NHL.com editors will share each day what they look forward to most from the schedule. Today, their picks from Wednesday’s five games.
Stars aim to improve as equal strength
The Dallas Stars are hoping to improve their even-strength offense when they host the Winnipeg Jets (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, BSSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Dallas (27-20-2) is coming off a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday and has two 5-on-5 goals in its last four games. star center Joe Pavelsky scored five points (two goals, three assists) in his last three. Winnipeg (22-20-8) is hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak after a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday. jet center Marc Scheifele has been held without a point in three games since scoring four points (three goals, one assist) in a 6-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 16. Nate Schmidt is expected to play his 500th NHL game. –William Douglas, editor
Avalanche missing MacKinnon, look for rebound win
The Colorado Avalanche have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL, but won’t have a forward Nathan MacKinnon for the game against the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; BSDET, ALT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) due to a lower-body injury. The Avalanche (36-10-4) enjoyed their seven-game road winning streak with a 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday, but are second in the NHL in goals per game (3 .92) and beat the Red Wings 7-3 in Denver on Dec. 10. Detroit (23-22-6) is 25th in goals against per game (3.43), but a better team since playing against Colorado. And any night in the NHL, anything can happen. — Amalie Benjamin, editor
Oilers improved defensive play to be tested by Lightning
When the Edmonton Oilers visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET; TNT, SNO, SNW, SNP, TVAS, NHL LIVE), the Oilers captain Connor McDavid and forward Leon Draisaitl will attract the most attention, and for good reason. McDavid’s 71 points (26 goals, 45 assists) in 49 games are second in the NHL behind Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers (72 points), and Draisaitl scored an NHL-high 35 goals in 50 games. But one of the main reasons for Edmonton’s 5-1-0 record since Jay Woodcroft replaced Dave Tippett as coach on Feb. 10 is their defensive play. The Oilers (28-19-3) have allowed 2.50 goals per game on 27.7 shots against in their last six games, compared to 3.32 goals against on 32.2 shots on goal in their first 44 games. That improvement will be tested by the Lightning (32-11-6), who are averaging 3.92 goals and 31.1 shots on goal in their last 12 games (9-2-1). — Adam Kimelman, Associate Editor
Winnipeg Jets vs. Dallas Stars (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, BSSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Stars are 9-4-0 in their last 13 games and the goaltender Jake Oettinger was named the NHL’s third star for the week ending Feb. 19 after going 2-1-0 with a .98 goals-against average, .972 save percentage and one shutout.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; BSDET, ALT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Red Wings are 3-1-0 and have scored 16 goals since the NHL All-Star break. They are playing their first game since losing 3-2 to the New York Rangers in a shootout on February 17. MacKinnon scored his 68th power-play goal on Monday to pass Gabriel Landeskog (67) for sixth place in Avalanche/Nordiques de Québec history.
Edmonton Oilers at Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET; TNT, SNO, SNW, SNP, TVAS)
McDavid (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2020-21), Draisaitl (2019-20) and Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (2018-19) have won the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the player who leads the NHL in points at the end of the regular season, in each of the past five seasons. The last game to feature the previous five winners was Game 5 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals, when the New Jersey Devils defeated Jaromir Jagr (1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00 and 2000-01), Mario Lemieux (1996-97) and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tampa Bay will play its final game before facing the Nashville Predators in the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET; TNT, SN360, TVAS2, NHL LIVE ).
Buffalo Sabers vs. Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, RDS, MSG-B, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)
The Canadiens (11-33-7) have won three straight under new coach Martin St. Louis, and their game against the Sabers will mark the second time they’ve played in front of a 50% crowd at the Bell Centre. Buffalo (16-27-8) has lost three straight games.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Arizona Coyotes (10 p.m. ET; TNT, SN, SN360, SN1, TVAS, NHL LIVE)
The Kings are playing their second straight game in Arizona after winning 5-3 on Feb. 19, and have won four of their last five games. Although the Coyotes (13-33-4) could have Nick Ritchie available after the forward was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 19, forward Andrew Ladd is out 4-6 weeks with a lower body injury.