7:40 AM ET
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The NHL returns to action Tuesday after the league took an extended holiday break due to increased COVID-19 cases. There haven’t been any games played since Dec. 21.
The ESPN+ exclusive schedule continues on Tuesday with the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Montreal Canadiens and then the San Jose Sharks hosting the Arizona Coyotes.
To help get you ready for the game, we’ve put together a guide on key players to watch for each team, including in-depth statistical insights from ESPN Stats & Information, and more.
This season, ESPN+ will broadcast 75 exclusive regular-season games, with ABC and ESPN airing a combined 28 exclusive regular-season games for a total of 103 games. The complete broadcast schedule can be found here.
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7 p.m. ET | Watch live on ESPN+
ESPN Power Rankings: 31
Leading scorer: Nick Suzuki, 18 points in 31 games
2021-22 record: 7-21-3, 8th in Atlantic division
Suzuki leads the Canadiens in points with 18 (six goals and 12 assists)in 31 games. Tyler Toffoli (17 points) and Jonathan Drouin (16 points) are second and third on the team. Montreal is 1 of 3 teams in the NHL without a 10-goal scorer this season. The two other teams are the Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils
The Canadiens are scoring just 2.13 goals per game, which ranks 31st in the NHL, ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes. The 2.13 goals per game is the sixth-lowest in franchise history and lowest since 1933-34 when they were scoring 2.06 goals per game.
The Canadiens are giving up 3.52 goals per game, which is their highest goals against average since 1983-84 when they gave up 3.69 goals per game. Their 109 total goals against this season is the most goals given up in the NHL so far, two more than Arizona and Seattle (107 each).
Montreal’s power play is currently tied with Arizona for worst in the NHL, operating at 12.5 percent. The Canadiens haven’t scored a power-play goal in their last five games (0-7 in that span).
ESPN Power Rankings: 8
Leading scorer: Steven Stamkos, 35 points in 29 games
2021-22 record: 20-6-4, first in Atlantic division
In the month of December, the Lightning have the best points percentage in the league (.889), just ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators (all at .875). Tampa Bay also has the best points percentage since the start of November (.795).
The Lightning are second in the NHL in overall point percentage (.724) behind only Carolina (.741) and their 44 points are the most in the NHL, one point ahead of Carolina and Washington.
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Defenseman Victor Hedman currently has 31 points this season. The rest of Tampa Bay’s defensemen have combined for a total of 42 points. Hedman is currently tied with Adam Fox for most points by a defenseman in the league.
The Lightning have had 22 different goal scorers this season, which ranks fifth in the NHL thus far in 2021-22.
10:30 p.m. ET | Watch live on ESPN+
ESPN Power Rankings: xxxxx
Leading scorer: Clayton Keller, 22 points in 29 games
2021-22 record: 6-21-2, 8th in Central division
This season will include 103 exclusive regular-season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC, and more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be available on ESPN+.
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The Coyotes are currently last in the NHL with 14 points. Those 14 points are the second-fewest in franchise history through 29 games. The lowest point total after 29 games was nine points in 1980-81 when the franchise was the original version of the Winnipeg Jets.
The Coyotes rank last in the NHL in many statistical categories. They have only scored 56 goals so far and are averaging 1.93 goals per game. Both of these are last in the league. Their 25.7 shots on goal per game are also last.
In addition to note scoring, the Coyotes are giving up the most goals per game. Their 3.69 goals against per game is the worst in the league.
In the month of December, the Coyotes have only won one game so far, which is tied for last in the league. Their 14 goals scored so far in December is tied for second-worst in the league this month with Calgary, ahead of only Montreal (11).
ESPN Power Rankings: xxxxx
Leading scorer: Timo Meier, 29 points in 25 games
2021-22 record: 15-14-1, 6th in Pacific division
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San Jose is averaging 29.3 shots on goal per game (24th in NHL) and is ranked 27th in the NHL in goals scored per game (2.60).
Defenseman Erik Karlsson is fourth on the Sharks in points (19) and he has eight points (5 G, 3 A) over his last nine games. The blueliner leads all San Jose defensemen in points and his eight goals are tied for third among defensemen in the NHL this season.
Brent Burns is just one game shy of his 1,200th career game. Burns has the most points by a Sharks defenseman in franchise history (557).
Source by www.espn.com