NHL On Tap: Jets, Golden Knights meet, put win streaks on the line

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 Sunday.

Jets, Golden Knights enter clash on hot streaks

The Vegas Golden Knights (7-2-0) are one of the early-season success stories in the NHL. They’ve won three in a row, including 4-0 against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, and four of five. The Winnipeg Jets (5-3-0) are another one. They also carry a three-game winning streak into their game against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, TSN3, ESPN+, SN NOW). It is their second and final visit to Las Vegas this season, where they lost 5-2 on Oct. 20. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think either of these teams would provide a must-watch game this early in the season. I didn’t pick either to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But that’s why they play the games, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Vegas is doing it with goaltending and balanced scoring. The Golden Knights have eight players with at least two goals, none with more than five (forward Jonathan Marchessault). They had four different goal scorers against Anaheim and goalie Logan Thompson made 29 saves for his second shutout in six starts, dropping his goals-against average to 1.69 and raising his save percentage to .943. The Jets are piecing it together without coach Rick Bowness, who remains out recovering from COVID-19. They won back-to-back road games at the Los Angeles Kings (6-4) on Thursday and Arizona Coyotes (3-2 in overtime) on Friday. They also won 4-0 against the St. Louis Blues on Monday. This one should be a fun nightcap to the weekend. — Dan Rosen, senior writer

Mania for Mullett

The Arizona Coyotes lost their first game in their new home at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., on Friday, a heartbreaker to the Jets on a goal 32 seconds into overtime. They’ll get a chance to win their first game in the arena they share with the Arizona State Sun Devils on the college campus Sunday when the New York Rangers come to town (8 p.m. ET; BSAZX, MSGSN, ESPN+, SN NOW), after witnessing a raucous crowd in their first game at Mullett, when they gave out fake mullets to fans. The Rangers are playing the second game of a back-to-back set, coming off a 6-3 win against the Dallas Stars on Saturday when center Vincent Trocheck had three points (two goals, one assist). For the Rangers, it was a crucial game, given that they had lost the previous four (0-2-2). The Rangers are a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, but they have had a somewhat disappointing start to the season and sit at 4-3-2 after nine games. A bright spot has been goalie Igor Shesterkin, who is now 4-0-2, and became the first Rangers goalie to start the season without a regulation loss in his first six games since Eddie Mio, who was 5-0 with two ties in 1981-82. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Patience a virtue for Devils, running low for Blue Jackets 

Are the New Jersey Devils (5-3-0) showing signs of progress that’s eluded them since their lone Stanley Cup Playoff appearance (2018) in 10 seasons? They’re 5-1-0 after losing their firsat two and host the Columbus Blue Jackets (2 p.m. ET; SN, MSGSN, BSOH, ESPN+, SN NOW) before a three-game road trip to Western Canada. It hasn’t been one month into the new season, so Devils fans may be tempering their enthusiasm, but there are a few things to like. There’s Jesper Bratt‘s season-opening eight-game point streak (three goals, 10 assists), two behind Tim Higgins’ franchise record (five goals, five assists) set in 1984-85. There’s Vitek Vanecek coming off a 24-save shutout, a 1-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, his seventh in the NHL and first since April 22 (2-0 with the Washington Capitals at the Coyotes). And there’s New Jersey allowing fewer than 25 shots in seven of eight games. Patience may already be running thin for the 5th Line in Columbus. The Blue Jackets (3-6-0) have a two-day respite on the road. They’ve been outscored 15-3 at Nationwide Arena since leading 3-1 at 3:57 of the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 22. — Jon Lane, staff writer

Sunday games 

Columbus Blue Jackets at New Jersey Devils (2 p.m. ET; SN, MSGSN, BSOH, ESPN+, SN NOW) 

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-23 on the power play while allowing two shorthanded goals. The Devils penalty kill is fourth in the NHL (92.6 percent) and has scored one shorthanded goal. New Jersey is without forward Ondrej Palat, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury Saturday, retroactive to Oct. 24. The next course of action will be determined Monday.

Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks (7 p.m. ET; SN, NBCSCH, BSN, BSWI, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Wild (3-4-1) close a five-game road trip; they are 2-1-1 after a 2-1 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. The Blackhawks (4-3-1) are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, a game they led 3-1 in the third period. Chicago has allowed five power-play goals in its past two games (0-1-1).

New York Rangers at Arizona Coyotes (8 p.m. ET; BSAZX, MSGSN, ESPN+, SN NOW)

Rangers forward Vitali Kravtsov is being evaluated for an upper-body injury. He was hit into the boards by defenseman Jani Hakanpaa at 12:27 of the second period in a 6-3 win against the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Mika Zibanejad‘s 11 points (five goals, six assists) this month are tied for his second-most in October (13 in 2018-19). Coyotes forward Christian Fischer scored twice Friday, his first multigoal game since he had three against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 23, 2018. This is the second of a four-game homestand for the Coyotes (2-4-1), who play 20 of their first 24 games on the road.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Anaheim Ducks (8 p.m. ET; BSSC, TSN4, ESPN+, SN NOW)

John Tavares has five points (three goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak and 10 (four goals, six assists) in nine this season for the Maple Leafs (4-4-1). The Ducks (1-6-1) have lost seven in a row (0-6-1) and could be without Jamie Drysdale after the defenseman left in the second period Friday with an upper-body injury. 

Winnipeg Jets at Vegas Golden Knights (8 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, TSN3, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Jets rallied from down multiple goals to win on consecutive days (6-4 at the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and 3-2 at the Coyotes on Friday) for the first time since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011-12. They last did so as the Atlanta Thrashers on Oct. 15-16, 2010. Jets forward Kyle Connor has one goal after scoring 47 last season. Logan Thompson broke Marc-Andre Fleury‘s Golden Knights record (eight in 2020-21) for fewest games to earn two shutouts in one season (six). He began this season with one shutout in 20 NHL games. Vegas forward Chandler Stephenson‘s five-game point streak (four goals, one assist) is tied with the longest of his NHL career achieved each of the past two seasons.

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