Red Wings take over third period, blank Ovechkin in win

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Through two periods, it seemed like the story would be about the Washington Capitals enjoying better work from their supporting cast. The attention instead swerved back to the top guns in the final frame, however, as the Detroit Red Wings’ stars powered a 4-2 win on Wednesday.

Justin Abdelkader scored twice and Pavel Datsyuk provided the insurance marker as Detroit scored three unanswered goals in the third period.

Abdelkader finished with three points (adding an assist), Datsyuk had two points (one goal, one assist), Henrik Zetterberg grabbed a pair of helpers and Gustav Nyquist nabbed a nice tally as Detroit finished strong on “Rivalry Night.”

Abdelkader played the role of the complementary player to stars in the closing 20 minutes in particular, scoring thanks to a combination of grit, nice timing and good fortune:

The Red Wings shook off a disallowed goal in the first period and Washington’s 2-1 lead to win this game.

Considering the fact that Detroit’s big guns came up big, Alex Ovechkin’s frustrating night stands out that much more. For the first time in his career, the 29-year-old failed to generate a point in five straight games.

While his -2 rating underscores the aggravation – not to mention the slashes he threw in the waning moments – Ovechkin did have his chances, firing seven shots on goal (which is as many as he had in the previous four games combined). Jimmy Howard was equal to the task, however, making 25 out of 27 saves overall.

Fair or not, Ovechkin’s detractors will have a field day. Especially cruel critics will contrast his play with Datsyuk’s brilliant night, including this jaw-dropping goal.

Sometimes it’s actually more frustrating to perform well and lose, yet the Capitals can at least note that they often carried the play against a strong puck possession team tonight:

source:

(via Natural Stat Trick)

This isn’t the last time that the Red Wings’ top guns finished a game in a strong way. They robbed victory from the jaws of defeat against the Pittsburgh Penguins to boot, as you can see in this post.

With this win, the Red Wings are now 5-2-2 as they ready for a home game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Capitals have now lost two games by a score of 4-2 and three of their last four. They’ll get a little breather before they take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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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.