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 the five games on Wednesday.
Canadiens, Canucks, trends and streaks
The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks play for the first time this season at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNP, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV). It’s the first of three games in four days in Vancouver between these Scotia North Division teams. Montreal is trying to trend up after some major changes following last season, including the additions of forwards Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson, defensemen Alexander Romanov and Joel Edmundson, and goalie Jake Allen. Vancouver is looking to take the next step after reaching the Western Conference Second Round last season, when it gave the Vegas Golden Knights all it could handle in a seven-game series. The Canadiens have had a solid start this season, with two wins in their first three games, including consecutive victories against the Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks have lost three in a row, getting outscored 13-4, since opening the season with a 5-3 win against the Oilers. With three games against each other in four days, this could be the beginning of a new rivalry. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
McDavid vs. Matthews magic expected
Intrigue and interest are automatic when you put elite skill against elite skill. So when the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid play the Toronto Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN), you get appointment viewing. In a typical season it would happen twice; this season there are nine games scheduled between the Oilers and Maple Leafs. The last time McDavid played in Toronto, on Jan. 6, 2020, he scored a goal that surely was among the best of last season. The Oilers captain has scored five points (three goals, two assists) in four game this season, but four of the points, including his first hat trick of the season, were scored in one game. Matthews has scored four points (one goal, three assists) in four games and there’s a sense that he’s about to break out. This matchup is sexy enough that two teams based in Canada will be on national television in the United States and Canada. — Tim Campbell, staff writer
Sharks look for rare win at Blues
The San Jose Sharks hope that sooner or later they are going to win a game against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. And there may be no better time for the Sharks, who have lost two straight, to do that than Wednesday, when they visit the Blues for the second time in three nights (9 p.m. ET; FS-MW, NBCSCA, NHL.TV). The Sharks, who were defeated 5-4 by the Blues on Monday, have lost four straight games (0-3-1) in St. Louis, getting outscored 15-8. In the game Monday, San Jose allowed four second-period goals, seeing leads of 2-0 and 3-2 disappear. It was a nice win for St. Louis, which was coming off an 8-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. The Blues will need to throw a blanket over Sharks center Tomas Hertl, who has scored six points (three goals, three assists) in three games; he was held without a shot on goal Monday but had two power-play assists. Bold prediction: center Ryan O’Reilly, named Blues captain Dec. 23, will score his first goal of the season Wednesday. — Dave Stubbs, columnist
Edmonton Oilers at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN, SN, TVAS)
The McDavid vs. Matthews matchup will grab the headlines, but the bigger story could be the Oilers needing a win after a 1-3-0 start to the season.
San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues, 9 p.m. ET (FS-MW, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)
The Sharks continue their eight-game road trip to start the season and are looking to end a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) in St. Louis.
Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks, 9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, FS-W)
NHL First Star of the Week Kirill Kaprizov and the Wild look to rebound after a 1-0 loss to the Ducks on Monday.
Montreal Canadiens at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SNP, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)
The Canadiens have allowed two goals in their past two games after allowing five in their season opener against the Maple Leafs.
Arizona Coyotes at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+, SN360, SNE, SNO, SNW, ATTSN-RM, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)
The Golden Knights look to win their fourth straight game to start the season after rallying for a 4-2 victory against the Coyotes on Monday.