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 Friday.
Devils return home looking for fourth straight win
The New Jersey Devils can extend their winning streak to a season-best four straight games when they play the San Jose Sharks at Prudential Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSGSN, NHLN, NBCSCA, SN, TVAS). They won their third straight Thursday, 4-3 in overtime against the Philadelphia Flyers; they also won three straight Oct. 27-Nov. 2. Their current streak hasn't come easy and hasn't looked pretty, but the Devils (11-9-1) finally might be getting some traction despite continuous injury issues. Forwards Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes are back, and they could have forward Timo Meier in the lineup after a seven-game absence because of a lower-body injury. But they're still playing without defenseman Dougie Hamilton (upper body), and forwards Erik Haula (lower body) and Tomas Nosek (upper body). They stormed past the Buffalo Sabres 7-2 on Saturday, but needed an almost miraculous comeback to defeat the New York Islanders 5-4 on Tuesday, scoring three goals in the third period, including Curtis Lazar's game-winner with 23 seconds left. A four-game West Coast road trip starts Tuesday and it will feel much better getting on the plane if they have a four-game winning streak. The Sharks (5-16-2) had won two in a row and had points in three straight (2-0-1) before opening a six-game road trip with a 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. -- Dan Rosen, senior writer
Senators seek to rise out of Eastern Conference basement
The Ottawa Senators need all the points they can get, including the two on the line against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; BSOH, TSN5, RDS), before returning home for a tough three-game homestand that starts Saturday. Ottawa (8-9-0) has lost two straight, including 5-0 against the Florida Panthers on Monday, a game in which they were assessed 84 penalty minutes and had six players given game misconducts. The Senators have four goals in their past three games and rank last in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. They're scoring the same amount of goals per game as they're giving up (3.47) and have struggled on special teams. And forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who was signed during the offseason to bolster the offense, has no goals in his past 11 games. The Senators need to go on a run. It needs to start against the struggling Blue Jackets (7-13-4). -- David Satriano, staff writer
Columbus looks for consistency
Zach Werenski didn't mince words after the Blue Jackets surrendered two goals in the third period and lost 4-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. "I just think we had a lot more to give in here and we didn't give it, and it's frustrating, especially coming off a big win against Boston [5-2 on Monday], having a day off [Tuesday]," the defenseman said. Columbus will look to play with consistency and more intensity when they host Ottawa on Friday. The Blue Jackets' inconsistency is reflected in special teams. They are second in the NHL on the penalty kill (89.2 percent) but tied for 28th on the power play (11.0 percent). Columbus was riding high, winning three of four games (3-1-0) before losing to Montreal, including a 5-2 victory against Atlantic Division-leading Boston. That came after a nine-game skid (0-7-2). Forward Yegor Chinakhov has three points (two goals, one assist) in his past three games, including a goal in the loss Wednesday. -- William Douglas, staff writer
Ottawa Senators at Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET; BSOH, TSN5, RDS)
Columbus has a plus-7 goal differential (26-19) in the first period, but minus-20 goal (43-63) after the first intermission. The Blue Jackets recalled forward Kent Johnson from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Thursday and he is expected to play Friday. Johnson had three points (one goal, two assists) in eight games before being assigned to the AHL on Nov. 3. Senators goalie Joonas Korpisalo could face the Blue Jackets for the first time. The goalie was selected by Columbus in the third round (No. 62) of the 2012 NHL Draft and stayed with the team until he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on March 1. He signed a five-year, $20 million contract ($4 million average annual value) with Ottawa on July 1.
San Jose Sharks at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET; MSGSN, NHLN, NBCSCA, SN, TVAS)
Luke Hughes was injured during the first period, came back in the second and the defenseman scored in overtime for the Devils against the Flyers on Thursday. He has points in three straight games (two goals, two assists). His brother, Jack Hughes, had his second straight three-point game with a goal and two assists and has seven points (two goals, five assists) during a three-game point streak. Alexander Holtz scored the Devils' first goal Thursday; it was his third in four games after he scored four goals in his first 17 games. Tyler Toffoli also has points in three straight games (three goals, two assists). The Sharks (5-16-2) were shut out for an NHL-high fourth time this season when they lost against the Bruins on Thursday.