Video: Blue Jackets defeat Avalanche thanks to late Jack Johnson winner

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) In a season when the Columbus Blue Jackets have been on the wrong side of bad bounces and injuries to key players, one swing of defensemen Jack Johnson‘s stick against Colorado changed their luck – at least for one game.

Johnson scored with 1:07 left off Avalanche forward Cody McLeod‘s skate to give Columbus a 2-1 victory over Colorado on Saturday night.

“I was just trying to get it by the first forward, trying to get it down by the net for our forwards,” Johnson said. “But it went in. I’ll take it.”

Johnson fired the puck toward the net from near the blue line and it sailed through the air before McLeod redirected it past goaltender Calvin Pickard.

“You don’t expect one like mine to go in, but it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes,” Johnson said.

Brandon Dubinsky slapped a shot past Pickard 58 seconds into the first for his ninth goal of the year.

The Avalanche tied it at 6:02 of the second on rookie forward Chris Wagner‘s fourth goal of the season. He redirected a shot by Jarome Iginla that trickled under the right leg of goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.

Korpisalo made 29 saves and got his third career victory. Pickard stopped 19 shots.

“I thought (Korpisalo), the past two games has been outstanding,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “He looked solid tonight. There were a lot of bodies around him, a lot of screened shots, he made a couple of great saves in the period.”

Columbus missed a chance to regain the lead 8 minutes after Wagner’s goal during a Colorado power play. The Jackets had a goal waved off when William Karlsson used his skate to push a pass from Cam Atkinson into the net. Karlsson swept his stick in an effort to touch the puck before it crossed the goal line, but the call stood upon review.

The Jackets failed to score during a third-period power play, with multiple opportunities turned away by Pickard.

Colorado’s best chance to score in the period came when Nathan MacKinnon ripped a shot off the post during a power play, after referees whistled the Jackets for too many men on the ice at 10:07.

“I thought we dominated the third period,” Wagner said. “Outshot them by a good margin, they had a pretty good bounce there at the end. (McLeod) was just trying to block the shot, it’s unfortunate. Things happen I guess.”

Colorado pulled Pickard after Johnson’s score but failed to threaten Korpisalo in the final minute.

“That’s the way this game is,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “You’re going to win some that you don’t deserve to win, and sometimes you’re going to lose some that you deserve to win.”

Columbus remains in last place despite the win but has won two straight after winning at Toronto on Wednesday night. Colorado had won four of its last six to move into the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, but what Tortorella described as Johnson’s “lucky bounce” was enough for Columbus to secure the win Saturday.

“Feels good to have one of those go our way,” Dubinsky said. “Feels like it’s been one of those years where we haven’t had many bounces or calls. It’s nice to get a bouncer like that, a seeing eye shot that finds the back of the net and get us a win.”

Columbus finished 0 for 3 on the power play. Center Boone Jenner was called for two penalties – once for interference in the first and then high sticking in the second.

NOTES: Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky dressed and backed up Korpisalo but did not play after returning from a groin injury. … Bobrovsky has not played since Dec. 8. … Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno missed his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury.

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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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.