NHL Game Day: Panthers face Bruins; Ovechkin goal hunt; Leafs and Hawks look for answers; plus all Wednesday’s action

The NHL will see five games on the docket for Wednesday, October 27. At the top of the billing are the undefeated Panthers as they take on the Bruins.

Also on the slate is Alex Ovechkin and his Capitals take on red-hot rookie Lucas Raymond and the Wings. Let’s dive in.

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Panthers vs Bruins (7 PM ET)

On Wednesday night, the Panthers will play host to the Boston Bruins, and the two sides will play again on Saturday in Beantown.

Boston will enter Wednesday’s game with one more day of rest than the Panthers, who beat the Arizona Coyotes, 5-3, on Monday. The Bruins have been off since beating the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, on Sunday.

Boston won that game thanks in part to six points from its top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron.

Boston’s top goalie is now Linus Ullmark, a 28-year-old from Sweden. He is 2-0-0 this season with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. Meanwhile, rookie Jeremy Swayman, 22, is 8-4-0 in 12 career NHL games. His career marks also include a 1.75 GAA and a .935 save percentage.

No matter who the Bruins start in goal, it won’t be easy. The Panthers have scored at least four goals in every game this season.

Florida is expected to start veteran goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (4-0-0, 1.99 GAA and .942 save percentage).

“We’re a confident group right now,” Bennett said. “Things are going well.”

Capitals vs Red Wings (7 PM ET)

The Washington Capitals got first-rate production out of their second line on Monday. The Detroit Red Wings will try to slow down the Capitals’ imposing offense when they match up in Washington on Wednesday.

T.J. Oshie delivered his fifth career hat trick in Washington’s 7-5 win over Ottawa on Monday. The second line’s center, Connor McMichael, collected the first two points of his career on assists. Anthony Mantha also added an assist.

The first-line production was solid as well, with Alex Ovechkin producing two goals. He has now scored 737 for his career.

“Lots of goals, lots of action,” Ovechkin said. “We’ll take the two points and move forward.”

The Red Wings also had a hat trick in their last game, a 6-3 victory at Chicago on Sunday. Rookie Lucas Raymond achieved the feat in just his sixth NHL game.

The 19-year-old has seven points in six games playing on the first line with center Dylan Larkin and wing Tyler Bertuzzi.

“Doesn’t seem like a 19-year-old to me,” Larkin said. “He’s mature beyond his years. I feel like when I was 19, I made a lot of mistakes. I was skating 1,000 miles an hour. I had a lot to learn. Lucas seems like he plays on the right side of the puck. He doesn’t cheat much, which is a big value here. He plays the right way and he gets rewarded for it.”

Maple Leafs vs Blackhawks (7:30 PM ET)

nhl game day
May 20, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe (center) during the third period of game one of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks have yet to even hold a lead over their first six games, resulting in an 0-5-1 record. Chicago allowed a season-high six goals in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, though the Blackhawks have surrendered at least four goals in every game.

“Top to bottom, I think our forwards have to help our (defensemen),” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “We’re just making it too easy for teams to walk into our zone, get possession, stay in our zone, generate shots, win battles. … It’s just finding that consistency and not getting frustrated and staying with our game plan when things aren’t clicking, when another team’s coming at us.”

Chicago has scored only 12 goals in six games.

The Maple Leafs share the same goal total over seven games, and Toronto has been outscored 18-6 on its current four-game (0-3-1) winless drought.

Auston Matthews scored early in Monday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, giving the Leafs hope of ending the losing streak. But, the Hurricanes scored four unanswered goals in the last 33 minutes for a 4-1 victory.

Toronto is scoreless in its last 14 power-play chances, though a lack of success with the extra attacker is just one of several offensive issues plaguing the Leafs.

“Both our power play and our five-on-five, I think simplifying it will help a lot,” said Matthews, who scored his first goal of the season Monday after missing Toronto’s first three games due to injury.

Golden Knights vs Stars (8:30 PM ET)

After the Golden Knights snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Tuesday night, Vegas center Chandler Stephenson believes it’s time for the team to start a winning streak.

“Tonight’s kind of a big steppingstone and something to build off of,” said Stephenson, who had a goal and an assist. “I think the guys feel good about the performance. You never want to be on a losing streak, but when you beat a team like Colorado, everything is kind of out the window. You just kind of move on from there. I think we’re going to go for a winning streak now.”

Vegas will try to make it two wins in less than 24 hours when the visit the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.

It will be the first meeting between the teams since Sept. 14, 2020, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup semifinals at the Edmonton bubble. Dallas rallied from a 2-0 third-period deficit to defeat the Golden Knights 3-2 on Denis Gurianov’s power-play one-timer at 3:36 into overtime.

That result clinched the series for Dallas, which held Vegas to just eight goals over five games.

Flyers vs Oilers (10 PM ET)

For the second time in three years, the Edmonton Oilers have started the season with five victories in as many outings.

As the Oilers prepare to play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, they look like a team that won’t be a quick out in the playoffs.

To no surprise, Connor McDavid — last year’s league-leading point scorer and Hart Trophy winner as the player most valuable to his team — is on a tear to start the season with five multi-point performances good for six goals and 13 points. However, Edmonton has shown an attack that goes beyond McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“It feels a little different this year,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “You look around the front of the net, you’ve got (Jesse) Puljujarvi, (Zach) Hyman, Kassian, Foegele all around that net, it’s a different look from our team this year.”

After four home games to start the season, the latest a 4-2 loss to the high-flying Florida Panthers on Saturday, the Flyers embark on a three-game swing through Western Canada, with games in Edmonton and Vancouver on consecutive nights before finishing in Calgary. They know it will be a tough test.

“We’re playing against a team that hasn’t lost a game yet,” coach Alain Vigneault said of the Oilers. “I think the Great One (Wayne Gretzky) the other day on TV said that he thinks their power play now is better than the one that they had when they won those Cups back then. So that says a lot about their specialty teams.”

–Field Level Media