Pavelski, Thornton take a bite out of the Canadiens

Associated Press
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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton each had three points to key a dominant performance from San Jose’s top line, and the Sharks beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-2 on Monday night for their sixth victory in the past seven meetings between the teams.

Pavelski had two goals and one assist, while Thornton scored one goal and assisted on two others to help the Sharks move within two points of second-place Anaheim and four points of leader Los Angeles in the Pacific Division. Brent Burns also had a goal and two assists, and Melker Karlsson and Nick Spaling added goals for San Jose.

Martin Jones made 21 saves to earn wins on back-to-back nights for the first time since November.

Brendan Gallagher and Torrey Mitchell scored for the Canadiens, who lost in regulation for the first time in five games. Montreal fell seven points behind Pittsburgh in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Mike Condon made 30 saves.

The Sharks’ top line controlled the game from the start, generating the first three goals for the team. The first came in the opening minutes when Pavelski adroitly deflected a shot-pass from Justin Braun right to Thornton at the side of the net. Thornton tucked in the puck for his 15th goal to make it 1-0.

After Gallagher tied the game when his bad-angle shot from the corner sneaked past Jones, San Jose’s two Joes teamed up again. This time Thornton fed Pavelski in the slot from the side boards and he beat Condon with a quick one-timer for his 28th goal of the season.

The top line was at it again early in the second when Thornton made a nice entry and fed Burns for a wrister that beat Condon. The 36-year-old Thornton leads the NHL with 44 points since Dec. 15 and has 60 overall.

Pavelski, who added a goal late in the third, has 29 goals on the season and 61 points. San Jose’s duo joined Dallas’ Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the only teammates with at least 60 points this season.

The Canadiens made a game of it midway through the second when Mitchell batted a puck out of the air past Jones to make it 3-2. Jones kept the score there with a strong pad save late in the second to rob Tomas Plekanec.

The Sharks turned it into a laugher in the third when Karlsson batted in a perfect saucer pass from Chris Tierney, and Spaling knocked in a rebound of Logan Couture‘s shot for his second goal in four games since joining San Jose.

Spaling scored just once in 35 games with Toronto before being acquired last week.

NOTES: The Canadiens claimed forward Mike Brown off waivers from the Sharks and immediately played him against his former team. He got a warm ovation after being shown on the video board during the first period. … Burns got his 400th career point with an assist on Pavelski’s first-period goal. … Phillip Danault registered his first point with Montreal with his assist on Mitchell’s goal.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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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.