On Tuesday night, Alex Ovechkin can become the NHL’s all time leading Russian-born goal scorer; on Saturday Patrick Roy returns to Montreal as the 20th anniversary of his infamous trade looms.
A look at the must-watch games on this week’s NHL schedule:
If some nights are more appropriate for history than others, then Tuesday might be the perfect time to rewrite the NHL record book. One night after Sergei Fedorov is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as the all-time leading goal scorer among Russian-born players, Alex Ovechkin has a chance to move past him. The Caps superstar scored the 483rd goal of his career on Saturday in a 3–2 shootout win against the Maple Leafs, tying him with Fedorov at the top of the list.
The Capitals have a chance to make some history as a team as well. A win would move them to 11-3-0 on the season, matching the team record for best start in franchise history. The game also marks the first time that long-time Cap Mike Green will play against his former team.
Could Carey Price make his return to the net after a stint on the sidelines with a lower body injury? And if not, will it matter? Mike Condon’s been excellent during Price’s convalescence, going 4-0-1 and allowing just eight goals. The rookie has yet to allow more than two in any of his eight NHL starts, but that’s a total the Penguins have surpassed in four of their past six games. Keep an eye on the special teams battle. The formerly punchless power play of the Canadiens is off to a great start, sitting third in the league at 27.3%. It’ll face a stiff challenge from Pittsburgh’s third-rated penalty kill (88.6%)
• Thurs. Nov. 12: Blues at Rangers (7 p.m. ET; FS-MW, MSG)
They enter the week as two of the NHL’s hottest teams—the Rangers are on a 7-1-2 tear while the Blues are 7-2-1—setting up an intriguing showdown. It will also be a chance for New York to end a troubling skid. St Louis has owned the Blueshirts of late, going 8-0-1 in their past nine meetings at Madison Square Garden.
• Fri. Nov. 13: Blue Jackets at Penguins (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN1, FS-O, ROOT)Something about playing the Pens seems to bring out the best in the Jackets. After falling short in their memorable playoff series in 2014, Columbus took three of four from Pittsburgh last season. This meeting then might be the kickstart the Jackets need to get their season back on track. It might not hurt Sidney Crosby, either. The struggling sniper has six goals and 20 points in 14 career games against the Jackets, so a dose of union blue might help break him out of his own slump.
• Sat. Nov. 14: Avalanche at Canadiens (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN, ALT)
He may be behind the bench, rather than between the pipes, but it’s always worth watching when Patrick Roy returns home. Roy earned 289 of his 551 career victories wearing le bleu, blanc et rouge, and with the 20th anniversary of the trade that sent him to Colorado just a month away, emotions are likely to be high for this one.
This classic rivalry might offer an even spicier match-up than usual. The Hawks scored five first-period goals when the two sides met in Chicago last Wednesday but the Blues came back to win the contest thanks to a Vladimir Tarasenko snipe in OT. Jake Allen, who came on in relief in that contest, has stopped 72 of 73 shots since then and will be looking for another opportunity to assert himself as the No. 1 keeper in St. Louis.
The numbers game
• At 12-3-0 (24 points), the Dallas Stars are off their best 15-game start to a season in franchise history.
• Twenty-nine of the 42 games (69.0%) that have gone to overtime this season have been decided in the extra period and not the shootout .
• The Bruins are most unwelcome visitors for the Islanders. Boston is now 12-2-1 in its last 15 road games against the Isles dating back to Dec. 3, 2007.
• TSN comes clean with the truth behind the lie of so-called hockey insider Bob McKenzie, who is being honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame with its Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and reveals the system that’s allowed him to fool Canada for decades.
• Team USA and Team Canada met up in the final of the Four Nations Cup on Sunday. Predictably, it ended like this.