TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend

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Saturday: Edmonton at Philadelphia (1 p.m. ET)

Look, we all know these two teams have been terrible. In fact, given expectations, they’re probably the two most disappointing teams in the NHL. Which is exactly why everyone should watch this game. Nothing like a good sports disaster. If the Flyers can’t get the offense going against Edmonton, we’re not sure there’s any hope for Claude Giroux and company. The Oilers rank dead last in the NHL in goals against (3.82) and, based on what we saw last night in Tampa Bay, it’s not hard to understand why:

Next time, maybe watch out for that Stamkos guy. Pretty good player.

Saturday: Toronto at Boston (7 p.m. ET)

The last time the Maple Leafs visited TD Garden, they experienced one of the most devastating moments in franchise history. Which, you know, was kind of a big deal at the time. We are, of course, referring to Game 7 of Toronto’s first-round matchup with the Bruins that the Leafs led 4-1 almost halfway through the third period. Yada, yada, yada, Boston ended up winning and making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where oddly enough the B’s were undone by their own third-period collapse. Sports!

Saturday: Pittsburgh at St. Louis (8 p.m. ET)

Time for a little Pens fans trolling. OK, here we go. Let’s see how upset they get when we suggest their precious Penguins have had the easiest schedule in the world and have been nowhere near as good as their 11-5-0 record indicates. Case in point, in 16 games, the Pens have only played three teams from the far superior Western Conference. They beat Edmonton by a goal at home. (Hey, congratulations.) They were badly outplayed, at home again, by the Canucks, even though they managed to win that one in a shootout. And they lost, 1-0 — yep, at home — to Colorado. Good luck against the Blues. Gonna need it.

Sunday: Washington at Colorado (8 p.m. ET)

The Caps won their fourth straight Thursday versus the Wild and, in a very related story, are starting to get scoring from guys not named Alex Ovechkin. Marcus Johansson, for example, has two goals in his last two games. Nicklas Backstrom has been putting the puck in the net. Joel Ward has five goals in his last nine games. As for the Avs, how will they react this weekend after losing 6-4 to Nashville on Wednesday? Everyone’s just waiting for them to fall apart, right? Worth noting: the Caps also play Saturday in Phoenix, so this could be a tough one fatigue-wise.

Sunday: Vancouver at Anaheim (8 p.m. ET)

The Canucks — who finally beat San Jose Thursday night — finish off a tough four-game road trip versus the red-hot Ducks. Sunday’s will be the first of five Vancouver-Anaheim meetings this season. If you haven’t noticed, the Pacific Division continues to be an absolute monster. Here’s a stat to consider: The Ducks, Canucks, Coyotes, Kings, and Sharks are a combined 28-9-4 versus teams from the Eastern Conference. Seriously, imagine if the Penguins had to play good teams like those all the time. Would they even make the playoffs?

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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David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
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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.