NHL Game Day: Penguins take on Lightning; Flames look to stay hot; and all of Tuesday’s action

Since they met in the first game of the NHL season, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins have developed distinct narratives going into a rematch Tuesday, with the venue shifting to Pittsburgh.

The Lightning raised their banner and celebrated with the Stanley Cup before the game on Oct. 12, then came out flat and lost 6-2 to the Penguins.

Now six games into the season, Tampa Bay’s label could be hit or miss, but more miss than hit.

Lightning vs Penguins (7 PM ET)

The two-time defending champions have just five points through six games after falling 5-1 Monday at Buffalo.

One glaring problem: Tampa Bay has yet to score first in a game.

“We need to have better starts,” said Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, who is doing his part on offense. He leads the team with four goals and nine points, although he had no points against the Sabres.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, wishes it was missing only one of its best players. The Penguins’ storyline has been one of an overachieving-while-short-handed lineup. The absence of several All-Star-caliber players has not slowed things much.

For the second game in a row, they are expected to be without five of arguably their top six skaters because of injury or positive COVID-19 tests.

That list includes forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, neither of whom has played yet following offseason surgery. Also out are forwards Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter and defenseman Kris Letang.

The Penguins have not played since a 7-1 pasting of visiting Toronto on Saturday despite missing the aforementioned star players, so they had the advantage of resting at home Monday night while Tampa Bay played and traveled.

Flames vs Devils (7 PM ET)

While the New Jersey Devils are enjoying some early-season success, their recent encounters with the Calgary Flames have been unsuccessful.

The Devils will conclude their five-game homestand to open the season Tuesday in Newark, N.J., when they attempt to halt a six-game losing streak to the Flames.

Calgary comes in with a three-game overall winning streak after routing the host New York Rangers 5-1 on Monday.

New Jersey is off to a respectable 3-1-0 start thanks to a pair of overtime wins and a victory over the expansion Seattle Kraken. Its one loss, a 4-1 setback to the Washington Capitals on Thursday, came in a game that unfolded in a similar fashion to its recent games against Calgary.

Golden Knights vs Avalanche (8 PM ET)

The last time the Colorado Avalanche saw the Vegas Golden Knights is a painful memory for the Avs … Vegas was celebrating its second-round victory over Colorado in June.

That lost stung. Colorado had won the Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season record, swept the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs, and started the second-round series with Vegas by winning the first two games.

But then the Knights swept them right out of the playoffs.

landeskog stays with avalanche
Jun 4, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) carries the puck ahead of Vegas Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch (89) during the third period of game three of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Four months later the Avalanche can put a little salve on the open wound when they host Vegas on Tuesday night, with both teams hoping to break out of an early slump.

The Knights have lost four of their first five games and are missing two key guys — forwards Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. Pacioretty has been moved to long-term injured reserve while dealing with a shoulder injury. What’s more, the productive Alex Tuch underwent shoulder surgery on July 30 and is not expected to be available until at least January.

Colorado is coming off of a 4-3 shootout win over the Lightning that ended a three-game skid. The Avalanche got Nathan MacKinnon back from the COVID-19 protocol list on their three-game road trip and he had a goal and two assists in Saturday’s win.

“From our standpoint, we just have to get rolling,” Makar said. “Guys are still building chemistry. I think our goal is to never lose two in a row. It’s not a position we want to be in right now. But we trust each other. It will come.”

Predators vs Sharks (8:30 PM ET)

The Nashville Predators look to continue their offensive awakening when they host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

After managing just eight goals in their first four games, the Predators scored nine in a 1-1 weekend that ended with a 5-2 win at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.

“There’s times where you’re playing pretty well and you have substance in your game but maybe you’re not finding ways to win or goals aren’t going in,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “I think if you stay with it, which our guys did, you’re eventually going to get rewarded.”

The Sharks are looking to bounce back after seeing their four-game winning streak end with a 4-3 loss at Boston on Sunday. They are finishing a five-game road trip.

San Jose, coming off two straight losing seasons, continues to be boosted by youth. Jasper Weatherby’s goal Sunday was the fifth by a Sharks rookie this season, the most of any team through Sunday.

Canadiens vs Kraken (10 PM ET)

seattle kraken
Oct 16, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; The inaugural season patch and team logo are seen on the jersey worn by a member of the Seattle Kraken during a stop in play against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Montreal Canadiens traveled to Seattle during a worldwide pandemic, it did not end well.

The 1919 Stanley Cup Final between the Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans was abandoned after five games, tied at 2-2-1, after several members of the visiting team came down with what was then known as the Spanish flu. Veteran Canadiens defenseman Joe Hall died days later in a Seattle hospital.

The Metropolitans, who became the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup when they defeated the Canadiens in 1917, folded in 1924 when their home rink was turned into a parking lot and they couldn’t find anywhere else to play.

The Canadiens have won a record 24 Cups and reached the final last season. Yet they enter Tuesday night’s game at Seattle with fewer points than the expansion Kraken.

Montreal snapped a season-opening, five-game losing streak Saturday with a 6-1 victory against Detroit as Mathieu Perreault became the first Quebec native to score a hat trick at home for the Habs since Vincent Damphousse in 1998.

The Kraken have lost four in a row, including a 4-2 loss in their home opener Saturday against Vancouver. Seattle had taken a 2-1 lead in third period, but the Canucks scored three goals in the final 7:08 to rally.

“It’s disappointing. It’s a really tough league to not keep the gas on for 60 minutes,” said Seattle defenseman Vince Dunn, who had the crowd buzzing earlier with the first goal scored at home for the expansion club. “A lot of these games, we’ve given ourselves a really good chance to win. But it’s not good enough. We have to find a way to close these out.”

Jets vs Ducks (10 PM ET)

The Winnipeg Jets begin a three-game California road trip on Tuesday night in Anaheim against a Ducks team they’ll be opposing for the third time in two weeks.

The Jets opened the season with a 4-1 loss at Anaheim on Oct. 13 but evened the series against the Ducks with a 5-1 home victory on Thursday night.

It was a few hours before the latter contest that Winnipeg found out center Mark Scheifele had tested positive for COVID-19 and would join linemate and team captain Blake Wheeler, who tested positive on Oct. 18 and was in isolation, on the sidelines.

Despite missing two-thirds of their top line, the Jets still managed to score 11 goals in back-to-back home wins over Anaheim and the Saturday against the Nashville Predators (6-4).

Wild vs Canucks (10 PM ET)

After opening the season with a six-game road trip, the Vancouver Canucks finally hit the ice for a home clash Tuesday when they host the Minnesota Wild.

The Canucks go into a seven-game homestand on a high, scoring a second consecutive win Saturday with a 4-2 comeback victory over the expansion Seattle Kraken.

“We should be happy with this road trip,” captain Bo Horvat said after the Canucks posted a 3-2-1 mark during a trip that included action in all four of the NHL’s time zones.

Although Minnesota started the season on a roll, the warning signs of trouble have been looming. The Wild had been forced to overcome a deficit in each of their first four games en route to victories, becoming only the fourth team in league history to complete that feat.

“At some point we just got to score first,” forward Nico Sturm said. “It’s as simple as that.”

–Field Level Media