Goalie nods: Isles give Berube second career start

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Curious move from Isles head coach Jack Capuano for tonight’s game against the Wild — even though starting netminder Jaroslav Halak and backup Thomas Greiss are healthy, it’s third-stringer J.F. Berube that’ll get the start in goal.

Why? Well, while the rest of the NHL was enjoying time off during the All-Star break, Berube set the AHL on fire by winning four straight games with a sparking .967 save percentage, and one shutout.

“He’s been playing,” Capuano said of Berube, per the Isles website. “The fact that he’s been playing, playing well and won his last four starts with a .967 save percentage, he deserves to get in there.”

Berube, 24, was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles prior to the start of the regular season. While he’s spent the majority of the year with New York’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, he has appeared in one previous game for the Isles, stopping 30 of 34 shots in a 4-1 loss to Chicago back in early October.

For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

James Reimer starts for the skidding Maple Leafs in Boston. No definitive word on a B’s starter yet, though Tuukka Rask appears likely.

— Marquee matchup at Prudential as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers take on Cory Schneider and the Devils. Schneider is coming off his first-ever All-Star Game appearance.

Mike Condon gets the nod for Montreal in Philly, while the Flyers look like they’ll counter with Steve Mason. Anthony Stolarz is expected to back Mason up, now that Michal Neuvirth is out injured.

Craig Anderson goes for the Sens in Pittsburgh, while Marc-Andre Fleury counters for the Penguins.

— Battle of the backups tonight in Washington: Al Montoya versus Philipp Grubauer. Montoya and Grubauer are giving Roberto Luongo and Braden Holtby a night of rest, after the two participated in Nashville for the ASG.

— The Jets will continue to roll with Connor Hellebuyck as they host the Stars. Dallas looks as though it will go with Antti Niemi.

— No confirmations out of Nashville, but Pekka Rinne is likely for the Preds, Brian Elliott for the Blues.

Corey Crawford will assume his usual starting gig in Colorado tonight, while the Avs will go with Calvin Pickard as Semyon Varlamov continues to attend to his legal issues.

— In John Tortorella’s first game behind the bench since breaking his ribs, Joonas Korpisalo will start for Columbus. He’ll go up against Cam Talbot, who gets the nod for the host Oilers.

— January’s rookie of the month, Louis Domingue, will once again start for the Coyotes tonight. Jonathan Quick, fresh off an All-Star Game victory for the Pacific Division, looks like he’ll go for the Kings.

— The same can’t be said for Quick’s running mate at the ASG, Anaheim goalie John Gibson. He’ll get the night off tonight as Frederik Andersen will start for the Ducks. Martin Jones goes for the Sharks.

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    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.