NHL On Tap: Shesterkin leads surging Rangers into Pittsburgh

Shesterkin leading the way as Rangers roll

Igor Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL last season. He hasn’t missed a beat this season for the New York Rangers, especially on the road. Shesterkin, who will turn 27 on Dec. 30, is on a 10-game road point streak (9-0-1), tied with John Ross Roach (10 games in 1931-32) for the second longest run by a Rangers goalie and one behind Dave Kerr (11 games in 1939-40). You’d expect him to get a chance to tie the record when the Rangers (18-10-5) visit the Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-4) at PPG Paints Arena (7 pm ET; SN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT , MSG, ESPN+, SN NOW). It’s the first time the Rangers, who have won seven in a row, will face the Penguins since their overtime win against Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round last season. Shesterkin is 16-4-4 with a 2.39 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and one shutout in 24 games while allowing one goal in four of his past five wins. — Tracey Myers, staff writer

Video: [email protected]: Shesterkin turns away Toews in overtime

Lightning attempt to extend winning streak to six

It’s been 220 days since the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round in Toronto on May 14. For many suffering Maple Leaf fans, it seems like just yesterday. The Lightning (20-9-1) return to Scotiabank Arena (7 pm ET; TSN4, BSSUNX, ESPN+, SN NOW) for the first time since eliminating the Maple Leafs (19-7-6) and enter with a five-game winning streak. “That playoff series could have gone either way,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said Monday. “It easily could have been Toronto in the Stanley Cup Final, not us.” It wasn’t, but the Maple Leafs aspire to do that this season. Despite a recent hiccup, they’ve been playing at a high level for seven weeks and are 7-2-1 in their past 10. They had gone 15 games with at least one point (12-0-3) until a 3- 1 loss to the Rangers on Dec. 15 — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Video: [email protected]: Kucherov nets one for the Lightning

Streaking Hurricanes to host slumping Devils in battle for first place

It’s too early to be watching the top of each division standing too closely, but the Metropolitan Division is a case study for what a hot streak and a slump can do to two contending teams. The Carolina Hurricanes (19-6-6) have won five straight games, have points in 11 in a row (9-0-2) and are 10-1-5 since Nov. 14. The New Jersey Devils (21-8 -2) have lost five straight (0-4-1), the past three in regulation. They had a nine-point lead on the Hurricanes for first in the division after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Dec. 6, the same night the Hurricanes lost 4-3 in overtime at the Anaheim Ducks. Each team had played 26 games. Two weeks later, they’re tied with 44 points in 31 games. The Devils will try to stop the bleeding and the Hurricanes will try to stay hot when they play at PNC Arena (7 pm ET; BSSO, MSGSN, ESPN+, SN NOW). Again, it’s too early to worry about first place, but you get the sense that this game is more significant for the Devils than for the Hurricanes. New Jersey set itself up nicely with a 13-game winning streak earlier in the season, but that becomes less impactful if you can’t end a losing streak quickly. A win in Raleigh, North Carolina would at least help the Devils get back on track. A loss, a bump down to second place, and there will be questions about their sustainability. — Dan Rosen, senior writer

Video: [email protected]: Staal puts the Hurricanes ahead in the 3rd

Tuesday games

Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers (7 pm ET; NBCSP, BSOH, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Flyers (10-15-7) are 3-12-5 in 20 games after a 7-3-2 start. leading scorer Kevin Hayes (29 points; nine goals, 20 assists) will likely return to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch for a 6-3 loss to the Rangers on Saturday. The Blue Jackets (10-19-2) have lost four in a row, totaling four goals.

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins (7 pm ET; SN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, MSG, ESPN+, SN NOW)

Pittsburgh has scored a power-play goal in eight straight games; the longest streak in its history is 12 from Feb. 3-26, 2013. The Rangers end a three-game road trip looking for a winning streak of at least eight games for the seventh time in their history and second in the past 47 years (nine in 2015-16; eight in 2014-15).

New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes (7 pm ET; BSSO, MSGSN, ESPN+, SN NOW)

Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns is one point from 800 in the NHL. The Devils recalled goalie Mackenzie Blackwood from his conditioning assignment with Utica of the American Hockey League on Monday and he’s expected to back up Vitek Vanecek. Blackwood hasn’t played since Nov. 3 because of a knee injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 pm ET; TSN4, BSSUNX, ESPN+, SN NOW)

Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli has seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven games since returning from offseason shoulder surgery and Tampa Bay is 6-1-0 with him in the lineup. The Maple Leafs are 3-0-0 this month and 11-2-3 on home ice, tied with the Lightning (12-4-1) for second-best in the NHL behind the Boston Bruins (17-0-2) .

Ottawa Senators at Winnipeg Jets (8 pm ET; TSN3, TSN5, RDS, ESPN+, SN NOW)

Josh Morrissey (11 assists) has points in nine straight games for the Jets (20-10-1), a Winnipeg/Atlanta Thrashers record for longest point streak for a defenseman, and 36 points (five goals, 31 assists) in 31 games this season . The Senators (14-15-2) are 32.5 percent on the power play since Nov. 8, third in the NHL.

St. Louis Blues at Seattle Kraken (10 pm ET; SN1, ROOT-NW, BSMW, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Kraken (17-10-3) have won twice in seven games (2-5-0). Forward Yanni Gourde has points in four straight (one goal, four assists). The Blues (16-15-1) have won four in a row for the second time this season. They have also lost at least four in a row twice. Jordan Kyrou had a hat trick in a 5-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, giving the forward six goals in three games and 10 points (six goals, four assists) in a four-game point streak.

Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 pm ET; BSW, BSSC, ESPN+, SN NOW)

The Ducks (9-20-3) are looking for their first winning streak of at least three games. They’ve scored a combined nine goals in their past two after 12 in their previous eight. Anaheim defenseman John Klingerberg has three goals in two games after scoring one in his first 23. Kings forward Trevor Moore has scored the shootout winner in each of the past two games for the Kings (17-12-5).

Calgary Flames at San Jose Sharks (10:30 pm ET; NBCSCA, SNW, ESPN+, SN NOW)

This is the second of two games in three days between the Flames (14-12-6) and Sharks (10-17-6). Calgary ended a five-game losing streak (0-2-3) with a 5-2 win against the Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Sunday behind two goals and an assist from forward Elias Lindholm, who scored his two goals in the first 35 seconds of the third period. It was the Sharks first regulation loss in five games. San Jose defenseman Eric Karlsson has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in a seven-game point streak.

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