NHL Game Day: Red-Hot Kreider leads Rangers versus Devils; Crosby to face Ovechkin; and more

The NHL docket for the Sunday has six games on tap.

Things get started in Ottawa, as the COVID depleted Sens have to play the Flames. Then there will be four intense divisional rivalry games, starting with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

Let’s dive into the previews.

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Senators vs Flames (5:00 PM ET)

The Calgary Flames have opened their seven-game trip with two straight losses.

But at least they took a point away from Friday night’s 2-1 overtime defeat at Toronto.

“It wasn’t how we wanted it to end,” said defenseman Oliver Kylington, who scored the Flames’ lone goal. “But I thought we showed good work ethic. A lot of positives to take away from this game.”

The Flames will continue their trip Sunday afternoon when they meet the Ottawa Senators in Kanata, Ontario. The Senators will be playing the back end of consecutive games after a 6-3 victory Saturday over visiting Pittsburgh.

The Senators have nine players in the league’s COVID-19 protocol, and even Batherson’s status was up in the air until a negative test came back a few hours before the start of the game. Forwards Austin Watson, Alex Formenton, Dylan Gambrell and Connor Brown, defensemen Nick Holden, Victor Mete, Nikita Zaitsev and Josh Brown and goalie Matt Murray remain out.

Rangers vs Devils (7:00 PM ET)

Kreider attempts to continue his hot start while Panarin hopes to follow up his first two-goal game with another productive contest Sunday night when the New York Rangers host the New Jersey Devils.

Kreider is among the NHL leaders with 11 goals, trailing only Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl (14 goals) and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (12 goals) early on. Kreider has seven goals in his last six games. The Rangers improved to 6-1-2 when he scores, after he tallied twice in Saturday’s 5-3 win over the host Columbus Blue Jackets.

Kreider tallied his first goal when the Rangers scored three times in 63 seconds during the second period, and he added his NHL-leading seventh power-play goal in the third. Those goals occurred after Panarin scored twice, marking his first multi-goal game since April 15 against New Jersey.

“I think it was the end result of us doing the right things,” Kreider said. “There are going to be stretches where pucks aren’t going in, but we’re getting looks, and they can come in bunches like that, especially with some of the skill that we have on this group.”

If Kreider and Panarin can continue their production, it likely will be against goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood, who is off to a fast start following offseason heel surgery.

Blackwood is 2-0-1 with a .945 save percentage since making his season debut in a 3-2 overtime loss to the host Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 5. He last played when he stopped 42 shots in Thursday’s 4-0 win over the New York Islanders.

Penguins vs Capitals (7:00 PM ET)

Feb 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) talk before a face-off during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin aims to continue his torrid start to the season on Sunday night when the Washington Capitals host a Pittsburgh Penguins team that could have captain Sidney Crosby back in the lineup.

Ovechkin scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season and 742nd career on Friday to move past Hall of Famer Brett Hull into fourth place all-time in NHL history.

“It means a lot,” Ovechkin said following Washington’s 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. “When you start playing and you came to the NHL, you never felt like you were going to be in that position and with those names, but it is a special moment for me.”

Pittsburgh rolled up six wins in eight meetings with Washington in 2020-21, however it has fallen on hard times this season. The Penguins fell for the sixth time in their last eight games (2-4-2) following a 6-3 setback to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

The Penguins could see a ray of light with Crosby poised to return to action after missing five games while in NHL COVID-19 protocol. The three-time Stanley Cup winner contracted the virus after playing in the Penguins’ 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 30.

“We’ll have to see how everything goes, but he’ll be skating (Saturday) and we’ll take it day-by-day here,” said assistant coach Todd Reirden, who has guided the ship with head coach Mike Sullivan also in COVID-19 protocol.

Crosby has had his way with Washington, recording 80 points (28 goals, 52 assists) in 60 career contests.

Bruins vs Canadiens (7:00 PM ET)

Hockey’s biggest rivalry is set to be renewed for the first time in more than a year and a half as the Montreal Canadiens visit the Boston Bruins on Sunday night.

Due to pandemic-altered scheduling, the Canadiens and Bruins did not play last season and are set to face off for the first time since Feb. 12, 2020.

Montreal was unable to build on its momentum from a 4-2 win versus Calgary on Thursday, falling 3-2 in overtime at Detroit on Saturday night.

With Jake Allen injured and Carey Price still ramping up to return, Montreal called up goaltender Cayden Primeau, who will join the Habs in Boston for an anticipated start against the Bruins. The 22-year-old was 1-2-1 with a .849 save percentage and a 4.16 goals-against average last season.

On Saturday, the Bruins withstood a second-period surge by the Devils to earn a 5-2 win at New Jersey.

This will be the 751st meeting in the all-time regular season series between the two Original Six rivals, with Montreal leading 363-274-103-10. However, Boston has won the last three meetings after taking three of their four matchups during the 2019-20 season.

Oilers vs Blues (7:00 PM ET)

The Edmonton Oilers will look to restore their defensive order Sunday when they visit the St. Louis Blues.

After starting the season 9-1-0, the Oilers have lost two of their last three games — including their 3-2 defeat at Buffalo on Friday. They outshot the Sabres 35-23 but yielded too many high-quality scoring chances.

“We allowed them to score easy goals and we chased the game the whole night,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “We didn’t play very smart. “We gave them four breakaways and they scored on three of them. That’s not a recipe for success.

The Blues fell 3-2 at Carolina on Saturday night for just their third regulation loss in 13 games. They must come right back Sunday and face the Oilers at home.

“Last two periods we played pretty well,” said Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who has scored in consecutive games after a five-game goal drought. “These are two big games for us, back-to-back against teams with one of the best records in the league. Obviously (you’re) upset when you lose, but they played well, and this is a quick turnaround to get ready for tomorrow.”

The Blues will play their seventh game in the last 12 days.

Ducks vs Canucks (8:00 PM ET)

Troy Terry stats
Nov 9, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry (19) scores the game winning goal on Vancouver Canucks goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) in overtime at Rogers Arena. Ducks won 3-2 in Overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the afternoon of Halloween, the Anaheim Ducks have been a fright for the rest of the NHL and will have a chance for more treats when they open a three-game homestand Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Since their 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 31, the Ducks have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL with six consecutive wins. They also have one of the league’s hottest players in Troy Terry, who is on a 13-game points streak.

Terry had the game-winning goal with an assist in a 3-2 overtime victory at Vancouver on Tuesday, then had two goals and an assist in Thursday’s 7-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Heading into play Saturday, Terry was tied for third in the NHL in goals (11) and tied for fourth in points (19).

“That’s the difference with this team this year is that we’re winning games in all different ways, when we have our A game and when we don’t,” Terry said on Bally Sports West.

The Canucks will enter off a 7-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. Nils Hoglander had two goals and an assist, as Vancouver had a 2-1 lead in the first period and was even at 4-all with fewer than 17 minutes to play before the game got away late.

The Canucks have now given up 14 goals over their last two games. Thatcher Demko started in goal in both games for Vancouver.

–Field Level Media