Don’t look now, but the Kings are scoring goals

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The Los Angeles Kings have to be pleased with their recent run of offense. They’ve played seven games since Feb. 21 and scored a whopping 23 goals over that span, an average of 3.28 per contest.

For most teams, that’s a nice surge in goalscoring

For L.A., it’s Krakatoa.

To put the recent 23-goal binge in perspective, the Kings scored 22 goals from Jan. 15 to Feb. 18 — a span of 14 games. That included shutout losses to St. Louis, Phoenix and Calgary and one-goal outings against Edmonton, Calgary, Colorado, Carolina, Florida and the New York Islanders.

One would naturally tie LA’s newfound offense to the acquisition of Jeff Carter, but that’s not entirely accurate. He only has two goals (zero assists) since coming over from Columbus five games ago, and both were scored in a 4-2 win over Anaheim.

That said, Carter’s presence has made a difference. He’s teamed with Mike Richards and Dwight King to give the Kings a dangerous second line, which in turn has made life easier for the top group of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams. At no time was that more evident than in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over Nashville — the Kopitar-Brown-Williams trio combined for four points as L.A. tied its season-high for goals in a single game.

Of course, scoring isn’t just about the guys up front.

“Our defensemen scored two goals by getting shots through, getting it past the first guy,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said after the Nashville win. “That really was the difference. Our defense was more involved offensively than they have been.”

That’s been the case for the last while. Over the last seven games, Drew Doughty has three goals, Willie Mitchell has five assists while Matt Greene and Slava Voynov each have three points. It’s an impressive display considering GM Dean Lombardi dealt away a talented offensive defenseman in Jack Johnson to acquire Carter.

Add it all up, and you’ve got a Kings team surging at the right time. They’re currently on 74 points — the same as eighth-place San Jose — and very much alive in the wild Pacific Division chase. Current leaders Dallas (77 points) are just two up on Phoenix and three clear of both the Sharks and Kings.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.