NHL On Tap: Senators visit Penguins looking to gain in playoff race
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 Friday’s two games.
Ottawa must seize its chances
The Ottawa Senators (20-21-3) were seen as a team that had a chance to push for the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, given the additions they made (Claude Giroux included) and a young maturing core. So far, it hasn’t quite turned out that way. But if the Senators want a chance — they’re eight points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (22-15-7) and New York Islanders (23-19-5) for the second wild card in an Eastern Conference. stacked – here are the games they must enjoy: They face the Penguins for the second in a home-and-away series, this time at PPG Paints Arena (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, ATTSN-PT, RDS, TSN5, SN NOW), after beating them 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday. They have snapped up striker Josh Norris after missing 38 games with a shoulder injury, making it the perfect time to change their season – if they want to. Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk called the game “do or die” with a playoff atmosphere. It is exactly what it should be. — Amalie Benjamin, editor
Avalanche, MacKinnon and Lehkonen look to extend their streaks
The Colorado Avalanche (23-17-3) are aiming for a fourth straight win over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNP, ALT, ESPN+, SN NOW). They were propelled by players who chain streaks with at least one point: Nathan MacKinnon (four goals and nine assists during a streak of six games with at least one point) and Artturi Lehkonen (five goals, one assist in three consecutive games). The Canucks (18-23-3) are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games. Their captain, Bo Horvat, had 10 points (four goals, six assists) during a career NHL 10-point streak. Quinn Hughes had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday to extend his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists). –William Douglas, editor
Pittsburgh looking to bounce back
The Penguins spent 15:26 of Wednesday’s game shorthanded while allowing four power-play goals on nine chances. “We allowed four goals against [on the penalty kill]; that’s not good enough,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “When you spend a third of the game trying to kill penalties, it puts a huge burden on those guys.” Still, Pittsburgh has points in 11 of his last 13 games against Ottawa (8-2-3) dating back to March 23, 2017. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has points in five straight games against the Senators (two goals, eight assists) and needs an even-strength goal to tie Stan Mikita (379) for 24th in NHL history — Mike G. Morreale, Writer
Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET; NHLN; ATTSN-PT, TSN5, RDS, SN NOW)
Crosby (52 points; 21 goals, 31 assists in 44 games) reached 50 points in a season for the 16th time in 18 NHL seasons. The only active player with more is Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (17). Tkachuk needs an overtime goal to tie Mike Fisher for first in Senators history (7).
Colorado Avalanche vs. Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNP, ALT, ESPN+, SN NOW)
Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen has five goals in his last five games, including two in a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. He became the sixth NHL player to score 30 goals this season. Canucks forward Elias Pettersson hasn’t scored a point in two straight games. He had 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in his previous 11.