Monday had been a relatively quiet night on the NHL schedule this season – that is, until now.
Twenty of the League's 30 teams will be in action, with the early games featuring a Central Division grudge match, the return of this year's No. 1 draft pick to his home province and an East vs. West showdown at the world's most famous arena.
The 10-game Monday schedule begins at 7 p.m. ET as Detroit travels to Nashville, Toronto welcomes in the New York Islanders
and the New York Rangers
play host to Columbus.
The Predators have won five in a row and could overtake the Red Wings for third in the Central if they continue on their streak.
, who grew up in the Toronto area, will take the ice for the Islanders against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Tavares has nine goals and 19 points in 23 games, helping his team to hold its own in an extremely competitive Atlantic Division.
The Rangers have lost their last three games at Madison Square Garden, and life doesn't get any easier with the surging Blue Jackets (6-1-3 in their last 10) making a rare trip into Manhattan.
Washington attempts to snap a two-game losing streak with a visit to Ottawa in one of two 7:30 p.m. games. The Senators have surged into second in the Northeast Division on the strength of a three-game winning streak, while the banged-up Capitals still hold a six-point lead in the Southeast.
Pittsburgh and Florida meet in another intriguing early matchup. The Atlantic-leading Penguins will try to cool off a Panthers squad that is coming off three roads win in four nights, all part of an 8-2-1 stretch that helped make up for a slow start.
Boston faces off with St. Louis in an 8 p.m. start at Scottrade Center. The Bruins and Blues have each won their last two games.
Carolina plays in Dallas at 8:30 p.m. The Hurricanes have won three of four since ending a 14-game losing streak, while the Stars come off a 5-3 win over New Jersey on Saturday.
A pair of games get underway at 9 p.m. Philadelphia plays the fourth of its five-game road trip in Colorado – both the Flyers and Avalanche will be looking to end two-game losing streaks.
Also, Edmonton looks to get going again as Phoenix pays a visit to Rexall Place. The Oilers are 2-6-2 in their last 10 and are coming off a 5-2 loss to Chicago, while the Coyotes have maintained their quick start and could move into second place in the Pacific Division with a victory.
The 10 p.m. nightcap features Anaheim hosting Calgary in the third game of the Ducks' seven-game homestand. They split the first two and will look to get out of the Western Conference basement with a win. The Flames, meanwhile, are only one point out of first in the Northwest beginning the evening.
Monday will be continue to be a great night for NHL fans, with at least eight games on the schedule each week through the end of the calendar year.