Weber on Preds’ scoring woes: ‘We shoot everything from the outside’

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The numbers say the Nashville Predators are a good puck-possession team.

In fact, according to 5-on-5 Corsi, the Preds are right up there with teams like the Kings, Stars, and Blackhawks.

So then why are the Predators just 20-18-8 ? If their Corsi is so great, how have they fallen out of a playoff spot?

Well, first off, nobody ever promised that these new “advanced stats” could tell the whole story. They can’t. Ask the Carolina Hurricanes. Or, more recently, the Montreal Canadiens.

Goaltending is one area that can sink a good possession team, and we all know Pekka Rinne hasn’t been at his best this season.

But captain Shea Weber has another theory. This one has to do with the Predators’ struggling offense.

“I think we’re too perimeter,” Weber told The Tennessean. “We shoot everything from the outside. First thing is traffic and then we’ve got to get inside the slot into good areas to shoot. It’s not good enough to get 40 shots from outside. … We’ve got to find ways to beat their players, make plays into the middle of the ice and get good quality scoring chances.”

Nashville has scored on just 7.9 percent of its shots this year, so perhaps Weber is onto something. Only five teams have converted at a lower rate than that. The Washington Capitals lead the league in shooting percentage, at 10.8.

Another theory is that the Preds just aren’t blessed with enough pure goal-scoring ability. James Neal leads the team with 16 goals. To put that in perspective, 26 NHLers have more goals than that, led by Patrick Kane, who has 30.

And that’s the theory that GM David Poile may believe, given his openness to acquire some scoring help via trade.

“We have to get more production, more consistency, so that would be the first place I would look,” Poile told ESPN.com. “But I’m just open to ideas and anything that might come along. You know how hard it is to make a trade, but for whatever reason it seems to open up more at the trade deadline.”

The Preds kick off a four-game road trip tomorrow in Winnipeg.

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.