It’s a packed Thursday night in the NHL featuring 12 games and four Canadian teams in action.
Here are some of the storylines that we’re keeping our eye on.
BATTLE OF THE SCORING LEADERS
In an all-Canadian matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets, all eyes will be on 19-year-old Connor McDavid and 23-year-old Mark Scheifele.
The two young studs are currently at the top of the league in scoring, with McDavid sitting at No. 1 with 31 points. Scheifele is enjoying his first season among the league’s best and is tied for second in points with 26.
While the race was much closer through the first quarter of the season, McDavid has been playing at the next level over the course of his six-game points steak where he is averaging a goal and an assist per game.
It will be interesting to see if McDavid lets up a bit and allows Scheifele back in to this race, just as the Oilers captain requested Scheifele to do in a text a couple of weeks ago.
Nikita Kucherov is the other young star tied at 26 points with Scheifele, and he also takes the ice on Thursday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the St. Louis Blues.
CANUCKS WELCOME FAMILIAR FACES
The Vancouver Canucks will host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night and two old Canucks will take the ice wearing visitor’s uniforms.
Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa were both on Vancouver when they lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins in 2011.
Kesler was traded to the Ducks in 2014 and is enjoying his third season in Anaheim. He has 18 points in 23 games this year.
In 11 games against the Canucks as a Duck, Kesler has six points (two goals, four assists).
Bieksa was also traded to the Ducks (2015), but has not experienced the same success as Kesler. In 71 games last season he only managed 15 points, and in 23 games this year he has only one assist.
However, Bieksa did manage to put a puck in the net last season in Vancouver on Feb. 18. It is his only point against the Canucks.
HANIFIN HEADS HOME
Noah Hanifin is heading to his hometown of Boston with the Carolina Hurricanes as they take on the Bruins.
This will be Hanifin’s first visit to Boston this year, and for whatever reason, he loves playing the Bruins.
He scored in his first game against them last season in Carolina on Feb. 26, and during his debut in Boston later in the season, his two assists led the Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory in overtime on March 10.
In 101 career games in the NHL, Hanifin has 30 points (five goals, 25 assists), yet he averages a point per game against the Bruins.
While he was held off the score sheet in their final meeting last year (April 5), Hanifin put home the shootout winner in a 2-1 win in Boston.
TAYLOR HALL RETURNS
The New Jersey Devils aren’t a big scoring team and, with Taylor Hall out due to injury, Mike Cammalleri has stepped up to help fill that void with 11 points in six games.
So playing the Chicago Blackhawks is already a mis-match for the Devils. At least now it looks as though they’ll get their biggest offensive threat back.
In 14 games this season Hall has five goals and 12 points and despite missing more than two weeks after knee surgery, he’s still just three points off the team scoring lead.