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NHL On Tap: Penguins face Panthers looking for 7th straight victory

Ovechkin can pass Howe on all-time goals list; Marner looks to extend point streak to 24 games @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the NHL On Tap. Three writers will share what they are most looking forward to on the schedule each day. Today, their choices from 12 games on Thursday.


Penguins back on track

The Pittsburgh Penguins were a frustrated bunch when they went 0-6-1 from Oct. 24-Nov. 5. Since then, however, the Penguins (17-8-4) have been surging, going 13-2-2, including their current six-game winning streak. They'll look to make it seven in a row when they play the Florida Panthers (14-12-4) at FLA Live Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, SN NOW). Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins with 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) in 29 games, Evgeni Malkin is tied for second with 29 points (nine goals, 20 assists) in 29 games and has points in six straight games (one goal, eight assists) and defenseman Kris Letang has looked good in two games back since having a stroke Nov. 28. In his second game back after missing five, he played 27:35 in a 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday. In other words, the players who have led the Penguins through their Stanley Cup-winning days are doing it again. The Panthers could be without their leading scorer, forward Matthew Tkachuk (39 points in 28 games) because of an illness. Coach Paul Maurice said Tkachuk would be a game-time decision. -- Tracey Myers, staff writer


Ovechkin aiming to pass Mr. Hockey

Alex Ovechkin can make some more history this week when his Washington Capitals play the Stars at Capital One Arena (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NBCSWA, BSSW, SN NOW). On Tuesday Ovechkin capped a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks by becoming the third NHL player to score 800 goals. Now he's one goal from tying Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe, for second all-time, and two from passing him. Ovechkin is shooting with a hot stick, with seven goals in his past four games, and he's done well against the Stars in his NHL career, scoring 11 goals in 23 games. Ovechkin's hot streak has helped the Capitals (15-12-4) to a season-best five-game winning streak. The Stars (17-8-5) also are playing well and piling up the offense, averaging 3.67 goals per game, third in the NHL behind the Buffalo Sabres (3.93) and Boston Bruins (3.86). -- Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor


Leafs, Rangers look to extend winning streaks

Streaks abound when the Toronto Maple Leafs play the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; MSG, TSN4, ESPN+, SN NOW). Mitchell Marner brings a 23-game point streak into Madison Square Garden after he had two assists in Toronto's 7-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. He has 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) during the longest streak in Maple Leafs history. Marner's run coincides with a four-game winning streak for Toronto (19-5-6), which has a point in 15 straight games (12-0-3). The Rangers (15-10-5) are hot too, extending their winning streak to a season-best four games with a 4-3 overtime victory against the New Jersey Devils on Monday. Chris Kreider has an 11-game home point streak (seven goals, four assists), and teammate Artemi Panarin has 10 assists during a six-game point streak, tying his NHL career high for assists in consecutive games. -- William Douglas, staff writer


Thursday schedule

Anaheim Ducks at Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN2, BSSC, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Ducks (7-20-3) have lost three in a row and have scored one goal in those three games, including back-to-back shutout losses against the Ottawa Senators (3-0) on Monday and the Maple Leafs (7-0) on Tuesday. Forward Josh Anderson has a goal in three of his past five games for the Canadiens (14-13-2), who are an NHL-best 4-0 in shootouts this season.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET; BSSUNX, BSOH, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Blue Jackets (10-16-2) will play four of their next five games on the road, where they're 2-6-1 this season. Johnny Gaudreau leads Columbus with 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 28 games. The Lightning (18-9-1) have won three in a row, outscoring opponents 15-5. Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos is on a 14-game point streak (nine goals, 12 assists).

Dallas Stars at Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NBCSWA, BSSW, SN NOW)

Dallas has won three straight games in Washington; its last loss at Capital One Arena was March 20, 2018. Stars forward Roope Hintz has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past seven games. Capitals forward Anthony Mantha has six points (two goals, four assists) during a four-game point streak, his longest since he had points in five straight from April 10-18, 2021. Washington's winning streak is its longest since it won seven straight from March 7-19, 2021.

Los Angeles Kings at Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET; NESN, BSW, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Kings (15-12-5) are coming off a 6-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, with all six goals allowed in the third period. Forward Kevin Fiala leads Los Angeles with 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) in 32 games. The Bruins (23-4-1) are 15-0-1 at home this season, the third-longest home point streak to begin a season in Boston history, behind a 21-game streak in 1973-74 (19-0, two ties) and a 17-game streak (12-0-5) in 2019-20.

Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET; MSGSN, NBCSP, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Flyers (9-14-7) have lost four in a row (0-2-2) and are 2-6-2 in their past 10 games. The Devils (21-6-2) have lost three in a row (0-2-1) for the first time this season. Forward Jack Hughes' eight-game point streak (eight goals, five assists) ended in New Jersey's 4-1 loss to the Stars on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Panthers are second in the NHL with 75 points from their defensemen (San Jose Sharks, 82), topped by Brandon Montour with 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 28 games. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry is 5-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in his past five games.

Seattle Kraken at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; BSSO, ROOT-NW, ESPN+, SN NOW)

This marks the end of a four-game road trip for the Kraken (16-9-3), who are 9-3-1 away from home this season. Andre Burakovsky leads Seattle with 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 28 games. The Hurricanes (16-6-6) have won two in a row, each a shutout, 3-0 against the New York Islanders on Saturday and 1-0 against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Goalie Pyotr Kochetkov played each game, and has three shutouts in 15 career NHL games.

Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; MSG, TSN4, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Maple Leafs are 8-3-3 on the road this season and the Rangers are 6-6-4 at Madison Square Garden. Toronto forward Auston Matthews has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) during an eight-game point streak. New York forward Mika Zibanejad has three goals in his past five contests and teammate Vincent Trocheck is two points from 400 in the NHL.

Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, BSSO, ESPN+, SN NOW)

Predators (12-12-3) defenseman Roman Josi has 565 points (146 goals, 419 assists) in 787 NHL games, one behind forward David Legwand for the most in Nashville history (210 goals, 356 assists in 956 games). The Jets (18-9-1) have lost two in a row, only the second time this season that's happened (Oct. 20 and Oct. 22).

Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, ATTSN-RM, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The road has been kind to the Golden Knights (21-9-1), who are 13-2-1 away from T-Mobile Arena. Jonathan Marchessault leads Vegas with seven power-play goals, including two in a 6-5 win against the Jets on Tuesday. The Blackhawks (7-16-4) have lost four a row. Forward Tyler Johnson, in his first game since sustaining a left ankle injury Oct. 25, had a goal in a 7-3 loss to the Capitals on Tuesday.

Buffalo Sabres at Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, SNO, SNP, ALT, MSG-B, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Sabres (13-14-2) have scored six or more goals in each of their past three wins (6-3 against the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 4, 9-4 against the Blue Jackets on Dec. 7 and 6-0 against the Kings on Tuesday), but they have allowed at least three goals in eight of their past nine games. The Avalanche (15-10-2) have won two in a row.

St. Louis Blues at Edmonton Oilers (9 p.m. ET; SNW, BSMW, ESPN+, SN NOW)

Goalie Jordan Binnington got his 100th NHL victory for the Blues (13-15-1) when he made 25 saves in a 1-0 shutout win against the Predators on Monday. Connor McDavid is on a 10-game point streak (10 goals, 14 assists) for the Oilers (17-13-0), who have won three of their past four games (3-1-0).

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