Stayin’ Alive: Canucks stage comeback of their own, send series back to Calgary

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VANCOUVER — The Canucks fought to play another day.

In one of its hardest-working and most determined efforts of the opening round, Vancouver beat Calgary 2-1 on Thursday in Game 5, staving off elimination while sending the series back to the Saddledome trailing three games to two.

“I thought from the get-go, the whole team had a good game,” Daniel Sedin said. “These are fun games to be a part of. It’s do or die and we played a solid 60 minutes.

“It was probably our best game of the series.”

Sedin scored the game-winner just 1:47 into the third period. Nick Bonino had netted the equalizer midway through the game — after trailing for nearly 30 minutes — as Vancouver gave the Flames a bit of their own medicine from Game 1, when the Flames trailed for the majority of the contest and scored the winner in the final frame.

As they’ve done for most of the series, the Canucks controlled 5-on-5 possession. They’re hoping that will pay dividends.

“They have to get tired (from) all the zone time and shots and protecting down low. I think it should pay off,” Sedin said. “But it’s a new game Saturday. We’re going to have to bring it again.”

As you’d expect in a 2-1 game, both goalies played a major role. Jonas Hiller was outstanding in the Calgary net, making 41 saves while Ryan Miller, making his first playoff start as a Canuck, stopped 20 of 21 shots.

“They ran the system really well, we were great on the PK late,” Miller said of his Canuck teammates. “All the credit to the guys in front of me.”

The Flames will likely be disappointed in their inability to close things out, and won’t like tonight’s disparity in zone play. That said, they’re still in relatively good shape and have another opportunity to close out the series on Saturday at home.

“It’s all about our character,” Flames head coach Bob Hartley said. “Once again we’re facing adversity, but that’s what we’ve done all year. Our young players have done well, our veterans are used to it.”

The Canucks, meanwhile, will be buoyed by tonight’s performance and a stingy defensive effort in front of Miller, who broke from his normally stoic demeanor in the post-game celebration, enthusiastically hyping up the Vancouver crowd.

There’s a long way to go from 3-1 down, but the Canucks make a significant move in that direction tonight.

Notes…

Bonino scored his first playoff goal as a Canuck and now has three points in his last four games… The 43 shots on goal were easily Vancouver’s most of the series, eclipsing the previous high of 32 in Game 2… T.J. Brodie led all skaters with 27:21 TOI, while Dennis Wideman finished second with 27:01.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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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.