We have three storylines for three NHL games on Friday.
It is a fairly quiet night in the National Hockey League with three games in total, with the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers getting us started at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET), with fans allowed back in the arena tonight, albeit reduced numbers.
The LA Kings will then attempt to win their seventh straight game against the Minnesota Wild, before the evening finishes with a second straight West Division showdown as the Colorado Avalanche take on the Arizona Coyotes.
What tonight lacks in quantity should more than make up for in quality given some of the matchups on the slate, and we’re going to run through one storyline for each contest, starting with the first game of the evening. Let’s delve right in…
Three Storylines for three NHL games on Friday
Revenge a dish best served cold
We start at Madison Square Garden where, for the first time since last year, fans will be allowed back into the arena. Now, granted, they will be allowed back in reduced numbers but it is still an exciting night and it means that the New York Rangers will be able to cut back on piped in crowd noise just a little bit.
It should be a compelling game for those lucky enough to be inside MSG tonight too, given that the Boston Bruins are in town and the B’s will be looking to bounce back after being absolutely blown out in an ugly 7-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Boston allowed five goals in the third period alone and it was a rare off night for the best team in the East Division, so they will be looking to erase that ugly outing from their memories. They will be boosted by the fact that the Rangers are without Artemi Panarin who is on a leave of absence, and that is a crushing blow for a Blueshirts team that are 4-4-2 in their last 10 outings.
Going for Seven
As we mapped out here, the LA Kings are having quite the year thanks in large to their core of veterans having a resurgent year, and they will be looking to win their seventh straight game when they take on the Minnesota Wild later (8:00 p.m. ET).
The Kings closed out the 2019-20 season 7-0-0 and they are building for the future this year while establishing a winning culture now, which is an incredibly good mix, and they are in contention for a Playoff spot in the West Division despite the fact that many saw the 2020-21 season as a developmental year for LA.
However, led by veteran center Anze Kopitar who has 21 points (4 G, 17 A) in 18 games, Dustin Brown with 17 points (11 G, 6 A) and defenseman Drew Doughty with 15 points (4 G, 11 A), the Kings are absolutely rolling right now and with one of the best farm systems in the entire National Hockey League, the future looks incredibly bright for this franchise and they will be putting their win streak on the line tonight against a Minnesota Wild team who have won four consecutive games themselves.
Don’t call it a comeback
If you are a Arizona Coyotes fan then you have gotten pretty used to staying dialled in until the bitter end given that the Yotes have won consecutive games after trailing 3-0. Yes, you read that right. The Yotes scored four consecutive goals against the Anaheim Ducks to win 4-3 on Monday, before beating the same opponent in a Shootout on Wednesday.
Phil Kessel has been a big factor in that success with six points (3 G, 3 A) in a four-game point streak, and the Coyotes are now tied with the LA Kings in third place in the West Division, so tonight is a big opportunity to continue to keep pace and to continue to push for a postseason spot, although they will face the toughest of tasks against a loaded Colorado Avalanche team who have dropped two straight and will be looking to start getting hot with there being less room for error in a shortened 56-game schedule.