On Tap: McDavid, Draisaitl try to stay hot for Oilers

On Tap: McDavid, Draisaitl try to stay hot for Oilers

Welcome to 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 five games Friday.

Look out for Leon

Connor McDavid, the reigning winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL most valuable player, has opened the season with a 12-game point streak. With 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists), he’s averaging two points per game. But the forward isn’t the leading scorer on his own team. Leon Draisaitl, the Hart winner in 2020, leads the Edmonton Oilers (10-2-0) and the NHL in goals (12) and points (26). Seven times this season, the forward has scored three or more points in a game. Where will those numbers be after the Oilers visit the Buffalo Sabres (5-5-2) on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, SN1, NHL LIVE)? — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

Hurricanes back home

The Carolina Hurricanes open a back-to-back at home, facing the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET; BSSO, NBCSP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) before hosting the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. The Hurricanes (10-1-0), who went 2-1-0 on a three-game road trip, have been led by goalie Frederik Andersen, whose nine wins give him the most through the first 10 games of a season by a Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers player and puts him back of just two goalies in NHL history in Jack Campbell of the Toronto Maple Leafs (10 wins in 2020-21) and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens (10 in 2016-17). The Flyers (6-3-2) are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Flames continue lengthy trip

The Calgary Flames (7-3-3) continue a season-long, seven-game road trip at the Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, SNW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) after a 4-2 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday. It’s their first meeting after the teams played nine times last season, with Toronto going 6-2-1. Calgary goalie Dan Vladar will face a tough test in Toronto (8-5-1), which is paced by forwards Auston Matthews (10 points in 11 games) and Mitchell Marner (13 points in 14 games). Maple Leafs center John Tavares will be a game-time decision after not playing in a 3-0 win at Philadelphia on Wednesday because of a lower-body injury. — David Satriano, staff writer

Friday schedule

Edmonton Oilers at Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, SN1, NHL LIVE)

The Oilers lead the NHL in power-play percentage (44.1), but the penalty kill is a strength for the Sabres, who rank sixth in (87.5). The Sabres are 0-4-1 in their past five games.

Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, SNW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Maple Leafs are 6-1-0 in their past seven, outscoring their opponents 23-14. Forward Mitchell Marner leads them with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) during this stretch, followed by forwards John Tavares with 10 points (six goals, four assists), Auston Matthews with nine points (four goals, five assists) and William Nylander with eight points (five goals, three assists). Goalie Jack Campbell is 5-1-0 with a 1.49 goals-against average, a .952 save percentage and two shutouts. The Flames are 5-2-0 on the road this season. 

Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; BSSO, NBCSP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

The Flyers, coming off a 3-0 loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, have scored nine goals in their past six games after scoring 23 in their first five. Their power play has converted 10.5 percent of its chances during this stretch. Still, they’ve gone 3-2-1. The Hurricanes are 5-0-0 at home this season.  

Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET; BSOH, NBCSWA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE)

Forward Alex Ovechkin is looking for goal No. 742, which would put him past Brett Hull into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL all-time goals list. The Capitals captain has scored 11 goals, one behind forward Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers for the NHL lead, and has scored in nine of 13 games this season while Washington has gone 7-2-4. The Blue Jackets (7-3-0) have equaled the best start in their history (2017-18), and have won three in a row despite trailing in the third period of each game. Oliver Bjorkstrand leads Columbus with 13 points (five goals, eight assists). Boone Jenner leads with six goals. Goalie Elvis Merzlikins is 5-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

Arizona Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks (8: 30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, NHL LIVE)

The Blackhawks (3-9-2) have won two straight since Derek King replaced Jeremy Colliton as coach Saturday, defeating the Nashville Predators 2-1 in overtime Sunday and the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday. Chicago is next-to-last in the Western Conference, ahead of the Coyotes. Arizona is 1-11-1 for the second time in five seasons; they started 1-12-1 in 2017-18.

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