With 11 games on the schedule and a doubleheader on NBCSN, Tuesday provides a veritable buffet for hockey fans.
That volume opens up opportunities, such as getting closer to seeing where the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers really are at, and which one of the struggling San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens can get their second win of the season (note: Montreal at San Jose closes off that NBCSN doubleheader).
It says a lot that a Penguins – Rangers game is intriguing, but not necessarily headline-grabbing.
Oh yeah, and we also get to see how the stubborn Ottawa Senators look now that Erik Karlsson is returning to lineup. There’s really something for everyone tonight.
For the sake of brevity, let’s limit this to four games that should be especially fascinating on Tuesday.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals
Remember that fantastic first-round series? The one that ended up being uncomfortably close for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Caps?
Tuesday could be another thriller, as Alex Ovechkin‘s off to a heck of a start for the up-and-down Capitals (3-2-1), who host the dumb, fun Maple Leafs (4-1-0). It says a lot that, despite only playing five games, Toronto leads the NHL with 26 goals scored. Ovechkin vs. Auston Matthews is rarely not a fun time, in general.
This game may answer some questions, including: “How long can Mike Babcock really push Mitch Marner down the lineup?”
Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils
These aren’t your older brother’s boring Devils, but this is increasingly looking like your older brother’s very good Lightning.
Anyway, Tampa Bay (5-1-0) already beat a surprisingly hot Red Wings team on Monday, and now they look to cool off another dark horse in the Devils (4-1-0).
Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos are doing their usual suspects act for the Lightning, while the Devils are off to the sort of start that has made them one of the most entertaining teams of this early season. It’s not just obvious guys like Taylor Hall or even 2017 top pick Nico Hischier, either, as Will Butcher already has eight assists and Jesper Bratt is currently second on NJ in scoring.
Tampa Bay is closing off a back-to-back, which might make it tougher for them to keep up with this young team in Newark.
This potential barnburner begins NBCSN’s doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.
MORE: Full preview for Lightning – Devils, Canadiens – Sharks
Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators
Nashville isn’t too impressive just yet with a 2-2-1 record, but do note that they’re 2-0-1 in their last three games. They’re also getting a chance to eye Matt Duchene, whose feelings might not be totally soothed even though the Avs are off to a 4-2-0 start.
This one stands as an interesting test for the upstart Avalanche, but the Duchene angle might be most interesting. Is he facing his future team here? Could the two squads pull a “Moneyball” and have him change locker rooms tonight? (OK, that’s probably going too far.)
Columbus Blue Jackets at Winnipeg Jets
John Tortorella’s loaded, “safe equals death” group featuring the likes of Zach Werenski versus the ridiculously loaded Jets (Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, so much more)? Yes, please.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.
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