Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby go head to head, and Ryan Getzlaf is expected to be the first to play 1,000 games for the Anaheim Ducks. But there are more stories to watch this week. Here are the top five along with fantasy can’t-miss players.
1. McDavid vs. Crosby
Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby will go head to head for the seventh time in the NHL when the Edmonton Oilers play the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV).
McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in six games against Crosby and the Penguins. The center has 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 12 games this season and is tied for second in the NHL with teammate Leon Draisaitl (nine goals, 12 assists) and John Carlson of the Washington Capitals (five goals, 16 assists), behind David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins, who has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists). The Oilers (8-3-1) lead the Pacific Division.
Crosby, chosen No. 1 in the 2005 NHL Draft, has four points (two goals, two assists) against McDavid and the Oilers. The center also is among NHL leaders this season with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 12 games.
2. Stamkos closer to 400
Steven Stamkos is two goals from becoming the seventh player active this season with 400 in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning (5-3-2) begin the week at the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV), when defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk plays his first game against the Rangers since signing a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Lightning on Aug. 5, four days after he had the final two seasons of his four-year contract bought out by New York.
Tampa Bay continues its extended road trip at the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday and at the New York Islanders on Friday before flying to Stockholm, Sweden for the 2019 NHL Global Series against the Buffalo Sabres.
3. Getzlaf expected to reach millennium milestone
Ryan Getzlaf is expected to be the first to play 1,000 games for the Ducks when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; FS-W, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).
The 34-year-old center has 930 points (266 goals, 664 assists) in 15 NHL seasons, all with the Ducks, and won the Stanley Cup in 2007. He has seven points (five goals, two assists) this season for Anaheim, which is 7-6-0 under new coach Dallas Eakins after finishing 10 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference last season.
4. Zuccarello set for return to Dallas
Mats Zuccarello returns to American Airlines Center for his first game with the Minnesota Wild against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV).
The forward has one assist in seven games, and missed four games because of a lower-body injury, after agreeing to a five-year, $30 million contract with Minnesota on July 1. He had 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists) in 48 games with the Stars and Rangers last season. He had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Stars.
5. Surprise teams face off in Buffalo
Two of the big surprises in the NHL early this season meet when the Arizona Coyotes play the Sabres at KeyBank Center on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, MSG-B, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV).
The Coyotes have won six of their past eight games and are 6-3-1 after finishing four points behind the Avalanche last season. Center Nick Schmaltz leads Arizona with 11 points (four goals, seven assists), and goalies Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta have combined for a .927 save percentage.
The Sabres (9-2-1) have yet to lose back-to-back games after they were 27th (33-39-10) in the NHL standings. Center Jack Eichel, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, leads Buffalo with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists). Rookie forward Victor Olofsson is one of three Sabres with 10 points (six goals, four assists), along with forward Sam Reinhart and defenseman , Rasmus Dahlin.
Fantasy can’t-miss picks
J.T. Compher, COL — The Avalanche forward has been elevated to the top line with the elite duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog and has assists in each of his first two games since Mikko Rantanen‘s injury. Colorado has three games this week, including home games against slow-starting teams in the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars. — Pete Jensen
Matthew Tkachuk, CGY — The Calgary Flames left wing has three points (two goals, one assist) and 11 shots on goal in his past four games. He gains additional value with four games this week, against the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals. — Rob Reese