Here are five things to know for Saturday.
Can Jonathan Bernier move on?
The Toronto Maple Leafs will attempt to halt an eight-game losing skid Saturday in Philadelphia (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET). Equally important is goalie Jonathan Bernier’s ability to put a bad goal in Thursday’s 3-1 home loss to Arizona behind him. The Coyotes went ahead to stay on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s 114-footer that eluded Bernier and saw the Leafs fall 10 points back for the final wild-card playoff spot. Bernier made his Maple Leafs debut at Philly on Oct. 2, 2013, a 31-save effort in a 3-1 win.
Former Flyers forward James vanRiemsdyk returns to Philadelphia riding a three-game points streak and tied for 20th in the league with 43 points this season on 21 goals and 22 assists.
Don’t be surprised if Saturday’s matinee between the hometown Montreal Canadiens and Washington (1 p.m. ET) goes to a shootout in a scoreless tie. The all-Canadian matchup features two of the NHL’s top goalies this season in Montreal’s Carey Price and Washington’s Braden Holtby. Price, who boasts a career-best 2.09 goals-against average this season, is 12-2-1 with a 1.53 GAA in the Canadiens’ past 18 games (14-3-1). Holtby is coming off a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh for his career-high fifth shutout.
Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has scored 13 goals in his last 13 starts and leads the NHL this season with 29 goals and 13 on the power play. Montreal is seeking a fifth straight win while Washington is trying to avoid a fourth consecutive road loss.
Taylor Hall questionable
Edmonton Oilers left-winger Taylor Hall made the trip to Calgary for Saturday’s Battle of Alberta (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET) but might not be in the lineup because of a bone bruise suffered while taking a shot off the lower leg in practice. Oilers defenceman Nikita Nikitin could miss the balance of the season after hurting his shoulder in Thursday’s 3-2 win over Buffalo.
Edmonton has won three straight and has 13 points in its last 14 starts, but keep an eye on Flames centre Joe Colborne. Not only does the six-foot-five, 213-pounder have three goals and five points in his last five games but he’s shone against the Oilers this season with three goals and six points in three games. Calgary has won five straight over the Oilers, including all three matchups this season.
Carolina’s visit to Manhattan, N.Y., to face the Rangers will include three Staal brothers. Linemates Eric and Jordan will try to lead the Hurricanes to a fourth win in a row, while brother Marc will probably be assigned to cover the forwards. Eric has three goals and four points in five games but has only one goal in his last 15 games versus the Rangers. Jordan has five assists during a three-game points streak.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is contemplating lineup changes after his team dropped two straight coming out of the all-star break. Right-winger Martin St. Louis hasn’t scored in seven games but the good news is New York has won 14 of the past 15 matchups.
Keep it simple, Jets
In Winnipeg, Jets head coach Paul Maurice will be hoping his charges get back to playing a more simple game against Dallas after falling to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia this week by scores of 5-3 and 5-2, respectively. The top line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler was held off the scoresheet in both games. Forward Matt Halischuk (undisclosed) is on injured reserve.
Dallas, which is 11-9-2 on the road this season, is fifth in the Central Division, trailing fourth-place Winnipeg by nine points. Tyler Seguin tops the Stars with 28 goals and 53 points.