Here are three things to know:
Canucks come down to earth
After a great start, the Canucks have come down to earth. Looking to avoid a fourth loss in five games, Vancouver takes on a Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The Canucks (4-3-0) have had some bright spots. Their top line of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with Radim Vrbata, have combined for 27 points in 21 games. Daniel Sedin leads the team with 10 points, while Vrbata is first with four goals. The Canucks are also 12-2-2 against Washington since the start of the 1998-99 season, including 7-0-1 at home. But the defence is letting Vancouver down. The Canucks were blown out 7-3 against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. In their recent 1-3 stretch, the Canucks have given up 17 goals, and have surrendered a power-play goal in four straight contests.
The Capitals (4-1-2) are currently 1-1 in their trip through Western Canada. They opened with a 3-2 loss in Edmonton. But on Saturday, with Ovechkin mired in a minor scoring slump, Joel Ward picked up the offensive slack, scoring two goals en route to a 3-1 win against Calgary. Ovechkin, meanwhile, has cooled off since a hot start. Since scoring five goals in a three-game span, Ovechkin has been held pointless in his last three games.
Sens in tough against Blackhawks
It was an emotional Saturday night for the Senators, who honoured the two Canadian soldiers killed this past week in a pre-game ceremony. On the ice, the Senators dropped a 3-2 overtime contest to the New Jersey Devils. Still, the Senators are 4-1-1 to begin the season. Head coach Paul MacLean has gotten solid production from goaltenders Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner. Anderson is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 goals against-average. Despite the loss to New Jersey, Lehner is posting a 2-0-1 with a 2.23 GAA.
However, the Senators run into one of the NHL’s powerhouses as they visit the Blackhawks. Chicago (4-2-1) has dropped its last two road games but return home to the United Center with a sparkling 3-0-1 record. The Senators and Blackhawks played only once last season, with Chicago skating to a 6-5 win. Jonathan Toews scored a hat trick and Andrew Shaw netted two goals in that contest. Ottawa has lost five straight at the United Center since a 5-2 victory March 28, 2001.
Jets in search of offence
Things have gone very wrong for the Jets since opening the season with a 6-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes. The Jets have only managed seven goals while dropping five of six games. And even when the team outshoots its opponent, it still can produce enough offence. In Friday’s game against Tampa Bay, the Jets held a sizable 42-27 advantage in shots but still lost 4-2. The game featured Tampa rookie Jonathan Drouin’s first NHL goal. Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has a respectable 2.71 GAA but is only 2-4-0 on the season. Yet it's not enough for some fans.
Colorado appears to be getting out of its early funk. The Avalanche (2-4-2) broke out offensive against Vancouver, and a win over Winnipeg would give the team victories in two straight games for the first time this season.