Goalie nods: Schneider looks to rebound from stick-smashing loss

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Cory Schneider‘s last outing was arguably his most frustrating of the year.

In Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Flyers, Schneider allowed five goals for the first time this season and took out his frustrations on his goalie stick, right after Philly scored twice in a 50-second span in the third period.

The game was an aberration for Schneider, who’s probably been New Jersey’s MVP this season.

At 25-17-6 on the year with a 2.04 GAA and .928 save percentage, he’s in the conversation to become a Vezina finalist this season (along with the likes of Braden Holtby, Petr Mrazek, Ben Bishop and Roberto Luongo, one would assume.)

Tonight’s game is a big one for the Devils. They head into action sitting one point back of Tampa Bay in the chase for the Eastern Conference’s final wild card spot, but have played one more game than the Bolts (and two more than the Penguins, who are also on 66 points).

So, no surprise that Schneider’s in goal for the Devils tonight when they host the Islanders. New York will counter with Jaroslav Halak, who appears to be in a goalie duel with backup Thomas Greiss.


— Robin Lenher, who stopped 25 of 26 shots in a shootout loss to his former Ottawa team on Tuesday, is back in goal for Buffalo. The Jackets will start Joonas Korpisalo, who’s been fantastic over his last 12 starts (.942 save percentage).

Michal Neuvirth, who beat Schneider on Tuesday, will start again for the Flyers. The host Canadiens are going back to Mike Condon, who hasn’t played since allowing six goals against the Coyotes on Monday.

Jonas Hiller starts once again as the Flames host the slumping Canucks. Vancouver appears ready to give Jacob Markstrom the start after Ryan Miller lost to Anaheim on Thursday night.

— No confirmed starters from the San Jose-Carolina game yet, as both teams are in the second of back-to-backs.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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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.