NHL Game Day: Blue Jackets look to stop Ovechkin; Canes take on Flyers; and all Friday’s action
The NHL will serve up 5 contests for hockey fans on Friday.
Starting with the rested Blue Jackets looking to keep their winning streak going against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington
The Blue Jackets have not played since defeating the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Saturday.
Blue Jackets vs Capitals (7PM ET)
The original schedule called for the Blue Jackets to play their past two games — both against the Avalanche — in Helsinki, Finland. Those games were moved back to the U.S. because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These days will be used properly,” coach Brad Larsen said during the week. “We’re not taking a breath and sitting back, I can tell you that.”
Now the Blue Jackets have back-to-back games against the Capitals and New York Rangers as they look to build on their 7-3-0 start.
The banged-up Capitals, who will be looking for their third straight win, are playing the second of a back-to-back. With four forwards on the injured list, Washington was also without goalie Vitek Vanecek on Thursday night.
Zach Fucale, 26, made 21 saves in his NHL debut, and the visiting Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Fucale, called up from Hershey of the American Hockey League, became the first Capitals goalie to earn a shutout in his debut.
Alex Ovechkin had an assist but didn’t register on shot on net and remains tied with Brett Hull for fourth in NHL history in goals (741).
Hurricanes vs Flyers (7PM ET)
The Carolina Hurricanes lost for the first time this season on Saturday, yet they return from their three-game road trip bristling with confidence.
So now it’s time to see what happens next as the Hurricanes meet the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.
Carolina won its first nine games before losing 5-2 Saturday at Florida. Tuesday night, they secured a 2-1 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that eliminated the Hurricanes from the playoffs last spring.
“We knew we needed a bounce-back game,” Hurricanes defenseman Brady Skjei said. And they got it.
The Flyers also have been strong across the first month of the season. However, they hit a rough spot when a three-game points streak ended in Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
“We’ll be better next game,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said.
Prior to the loss, Philadelphia had allowed just three goals in regulation across its previous three games. And that’s good, because Vigneault acknowledged that the Flyers haven’t jelled on offense recently.
Sabres vs Oilers (7PM ET)
The high-octane Edmonton Oilers look to continue their sizzling start to the season on Friday night when they visit the Buffalo Sabres.
Leon Draisaitl collected two third-period goals — the tying and go-ahead tallies — to go with an assist while captain Connor McDavid extended his season-opening point streak to 12 games in Edmonton’s 5-3 victory over the host Boston Bruins on Thursday.
Taken at face value, Edmonton has scored at least five goals in eight of its 12 games. One of the Oilers’ four outliers came in the opener of their five-game road trip, a 4-2 setback at the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
“We competed way harder. We got behind quick but the ability to get it right back — not chase the game — we were pretty strong,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “We don’t want to lose two in a row, so we came out and played well.”
Like Edmonton, Buffalo enjoyed a sterling start to the season. But unlike the Oilers, the Sabres have seen the bottom fall out. After a 5-1-1 beginning to the campaign, Buffalo has lost five straight (0-4-1).
“I think we’ve got to remain confident,” forward Anders Bjork said following Buffalo’s 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday. “When we’re skating and attacking hard and using our speed, we can stick with any team in this league and create lots of chances.”
Flames vs Maple Leafs (7PM ET)
The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to take advantage of a team on the second half of back-to-back road games Friday night when they host the Calgary Flames.
While the Maple Leafs had Thursday off after defeating the host Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 on Wednesday, the Flames lost 4-2 to the struggling Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
The result ended a five-game road winning streak for the Flames, who were opening a seven-game trip. They have dropped two in a row starting with a 4-1 loss to the visiting San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to regroup here, refocus,” said Mikael Backlund, who scored a goal for the Flames against Montreal. “We’re not happy (that) we’re losing, and good teams don’t lose three in a row. We’ve got to find a way to bounce back (Friday).
Blackhawks vs Coyotes (8:30 PM ET)
Eager to put a sour start to the season behind them, the Chicago Blackhawks will try to extend their winning streak to three on Friday night as they host the Arizona Coyotes to close a three-game homestand.
The Blackhawks started the surge with Sunday’s 2-1 overtime win against Nashville one day after the firing of coach Jeremy Colliton. On Tuesday, Chicago squandered a two-goal lead in the third period before rallying to top Pittsburgh in a shootout.
“It feels nice,” Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “Just walking in the room seeing guys smile at practice, before the games, during the game. We want to do better for this team and for the fans. It was definitely a frustrating start to the season, and I’m glad the last two games feel better and we’re going to keep building on that and try to put on a good show at home.”
Arizona will meet Chicago in the opener of a three-game road trip that includes stops to fellow Central Division foes Nashville and St. Louis. After edging the expansion Seattle Kraken 5-4 on Friday to earn their first victory of the season, the Coyotes lost 5-2 to the visiting Minnesota Wild Wednesday night.
–Field Level Media