Welcome to the 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 six games on Friday.
Karlsson continues to shine for Sharks
The San Jose Sharks have had their struggles this season, but one constant has been Erik Karlsson. The defenseman has 21 points (two goals, 19 assists) during a 13-game point streak, a record for the Sharks. He’ll have a chance to add to that when the Sharks (12-20-7) play the Anaheim Ducks (11-24-4) at Honda Center on Friday (10 pm ET; ESPN+, HULU, TVAS, SN1). With one point Friday, Karlsson would become the seventh NHL defenseman in the past 30 years with a point streak of at least 14 games and the fifth defensemen in NHL history with an assist streak of that length, joining Hockey Hall of Famers Paul Coffey (17 GP in 1985-86), Brian Leetch (15 GP in 1991-92), Phil Housley (14 GP in 1992-93) and Bobby Orr (14 GP in 1970-71). It’s been a great rebound season for Karlsson, who leads all NHL defensemen in points (53), goals (13) and assists (40). Last season, he had 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists) in 50 games. Whether Karlsson finishes this season with the Sharks remains to be seen; General manager Mike Grier said in November that the Sharks would listen if teams ask about him before the NHL Trade Deadline on March 3. Regardless, it looks like Karlsson, who on Thursday was selected to represent the Sharks at the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game, is just going to keep racking up the points. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
A tale of two teams
At the start of the season, it would have seemed crazy to think that the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings would be separated by a single point in the standings, even crazier to think that the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winning Panthers would be the ones behind and especially crazy given that the Red Wings have three games in hand. But here we are, as the season nears its halfway point and the Panthers and Red Wings get set to face off at Little Caesars Arena (7 pm ET; TVAS, BSDETX, BSFL, ESPN+, SN NOW). Each team is out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the moment, but their positioning is a victory for the up-and-coming Red Wings (16-13-7) and a disappointment for the Panthers (17-18-4). Still, the Panthers are coming off a 5-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday in which Matthew Tkachuk got his first hat trick with Florida, and there’s no time like the present to turn things around. – Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
Jets go for fourth straight win
The Winnipeg Jets seek their fourth win in a row when they host the Calgary Flames (8 pm ET; TSN3, BSSUNX, ESPN+, SN NOW) at Canada Life Centre. The Jets’ (24-13-1) streak has been fueled by strong goaltending from Connor Hellebuyck, who had 33 saves in their 3-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday and is making a case for Vezina Trophy consideration as the NHL’s top goalie. The 29-year-old is 19-9-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and three shutouts in 29 games. He’s second in the NHL in wins behind the Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark (21). Forward Kyle Connor has six points (one goal, five assists) during a four-game point streak. The Lightning (24-12-1) had a four-game winning streak snapped in a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday. Forward Brayden Point has 12 goals in his past 13 games and eight points (six goals, two assists) during a six-game point streak. – William Douglas, staff writer
Nashville Predators at Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, BSSO, ESPN+, SN NOW)
Juuse Saros set a Predators record with 64 saves in a 5-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. The Predators (17-14-6) are 5-1-2 in their last eight games. Alex Ovechkin has scored seven goals in his past four games for the Capitals (22-13-6), who are 7-0-2 in their past nine games and look to extend their road winning streak to a franchise-record seven games. With his next goal, Ovechkin will tie Mike Gartner for the most 30-goal seasons in NHL history with 17.
Florida Panthers at Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, BSDETX, BSFL, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Panthers had lost five of six before defeating the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Eric Staal is coming off a two-goal game Tuesday, his first multigoal game since Dec. 12, 2019, for the Minnesota Wild. The Red Wings had won three of four before losing to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. But the Red Wings have fallen behind by big scores in each of their past four games, 4-0, 5-0, 2-0 and 5-0.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, BSSUNX, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Lightning are 7-3-0 in their past 10 games but are 9-8-0 on the road this season. Forward Steven Stamkos is two goals shy of 500 for his NHL career. The Jets are 6-4-0 in their past 10 games. Forward Pierre-Luc Dubois is poised to play in his 400th NHL game.
Arizona Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH+, BSAZX, ESPN+, SN NOW)
Patrick Kane is a possibility to play for the Blackhawks (8-25-4), who have lost five in a row. The forward did not practice Thursday (maintenance) after leaving after the second period with a lower-body injury in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The Coyotes (13-19-2) have lost 11 in a row on the road (0-9-2) and have allowed 10 power-play goals in their past nine games.
New York Islanders at Calgary Flames (9 p.m. ET; SNW, MSGSN, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Islanders (22-16-2), who lost 4-2 at the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, are 1-2-0 on this four-game road trip. Mathew Barzal leads them with 41 points (11 goals, 30 assists) in 40 games. The Flames (18-14-7) are 5-1-2 in their last eight games. Forward Elias Lindholm leads them with 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) in 38 games.
San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, TVAS, SN1)
Timo Meier has 38 points (21 goals, 17 assists) in 39 games, second on the Sharks behind Karlsson. This is San Jose’s first game since Sunday, when it defeated Chicago. Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 35 saves in a 2-0 win against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday for his first shutout since Nov. 2, 2021. This is the third of an eight-game homestand for Anaheim.