Get your game notes: Pens at Caps

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Washington Capitals hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The Capitals are seeking their seventh consecutive home win for the first time since Dec. 20, 2011-Jan. 15, 2012. Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, they have the most home wins (133) in the NHL.

— The Penguins have been held to one goal in each of their last three road games. The last time they were held to fewer than two goals in four straight road games was in Sidney Crosby’s rookie season (Nov. 27-Dec. 13, 2005).

— Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the Penguins and Capitals as divisional rivals since they competed in the Patrick Division in 1992-93. On March 28, 1993, Pittsburgh won the most recent intra-divisional clash, 4-1, at the old Cap Centre, behind a goal and two assists from Mario Lemieux.

— Through 21 games, Pittsburgh is averaging 2.76 goals per game (T-11th, Boston and Calgary). Since 1987-88 (25 seasons), the Pens have led the NHL in scoring five times (including 2011-12, 3.33 goals/game; 2012-13, 3.38 goals/game) and have only finished outside the top-five on eight occasions.

— The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin bring the best out in one another. In 18 regular-season games between Washington and Pittsburgh in which the talented trio all played, they combined for 27 goals, 76 points and 252 shots on goal. (Elias Sports Bureau)

— Crosby needs two goals to become only the sixth player to score 250 career goals as a member of the Penguins. (Mario Lemieux – 690; Jaromir Jagr – 439; Jean Pronovost – 316; Rick Kehoe – 312; Kevin Stevens – 260).

— The Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, who is second in the NHL in assists (19, one behind the Sharks’ Joe Thornton) has the most three-assist games since he entered the league in 2007-08, with 24. Sidney Crosby (22) and Evgeni Malkin (21) rank third and fourth in the NHL during that span. (H. Sedin, 23).

— On Monday, the Penguins’ 25-year-old rookie, Brian Gibbons, became the second player this season to open the scoring of a game with his first NHL goal in his debut. The Oilers’ 24-year-old rookie, Luke Gazdic, also did so in his team’s season opener, on Oct. 1. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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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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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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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.