Here’s what you need to know:
It’s been a long time coming for the Ottawa Senators but they can put themselves back in playoff position with a win over visiting San Jose. Winners of six straight, the Senators will use one of two games in hand on Boston, which occupies the second wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by one point over Ottawa after Sunday’s 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay. The Senators, who sat 14 points out of a post-season spot on Feb. 8, are on a 14-1-1 run. Andrew Hammond, who is 13-0-1 in his first 14 NHL starts, gets the nod in goal. He made 28 saves in a 4-2 Ottawa win over San Jose on Feb. 28.
The unbeaten-in-four Winnipeg Jets will try to further distance themselves from Los Angeles for the final playoff spot in the West when they visit Edmonton. The Jets moved four points up on the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, who are in New Jersey Monday, with a 3-0 win over Washington on Saturday, thanks in large part to Ondrej Pavelec’s 28-save shutout. Trade deadline acquisition Drew Stafford has three goals and seven points in a five-game stretch to lead a red-hot line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
Edmonton sits last in the 30-team NHL but has earned at least one point in four consecutive games. The Oilers also boast a sizzling top unit of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between left-winger Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Eberle.
Ramo to remain in Flames’ net
Calgary attempts to bounce back from Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Columbus, with Los Angeles breathing down its neck in the Pacific Division standings. The Flames, who welcome Colorado to town, have a two-point edge over the Kings with the defending Stanley Cup champions holding a game in hand. Calgary, which is 20-13-4 at home this season, will be looking to No. 1 centre Sean Monahan to pad his team-leading 29 goals. Karri Ramo will make a third straight start in goal.
The Avalanche, who have collected three of four points in two games versus Calgary this season, begin a three-game Canadian trip and will probably have forward Jesse Winchester in the lineup for the first time this season after he suffered a pre-season concussion at Calgary.
Battle of non-titans
Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild can ill afford to look past their visit to Toronto. Sure, the Maple Leafs have dropped five straight, haven’t won in regulation since March 3 and have allowed the fourth-most goals per game this season, but they are 19-15-1 on home ice. To boot, Minnesota is 1-6 all time at the Air Canada Centre. However, the Wild have won a franchise-record eight games in a row and are on a 12-1-2 road surge since Dubnyk’s Jan. 15 debut. The former Arizona Coyote is expected to make his 31st start in a row for Minnesota, which has a one-point lead over Winnipeg for the first wild-card playoff spot.
Toronto, coming off a 5-3 defeat in Ottawa, has allowed 52 goals in its past 13 games.
Richards suiting up for Kings?
In need of a boost, the winless-in-two Los Angeles Kings might call upon centre Mike Richards in New Jersey. Richards practised with the team Sunday following a 16-game stint (14 points) with its American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, NH, and could play Monday due to the lack of production from rookie pivots Nick Shore and Andy Andreoff. The Kings begin a five-game East Coast trip just two points back of third-place Calgary in the Pacific Division and four points in arrears of Winnipeg for the second wild-card spot in the West.