Wideman ‘was excited to get back’ from his suspension; Flames drop 4-1 decision to ‘Yotes

Associated Press
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CALGARY, Alberta (AP) In a season highlighted by the emergence of some youngsters, Arizona’s veterans helped snap a 10-game road winless streak Friday night.

Brad Richardson scored twice after Antoine Vermette put Arizona ahead early in the third period and the Coyotes beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 to end the skid streak.

The 33-year-old Vermette put Arizona ahead 2-1 early in the third period, and then Richardson scored his two goals to clinch it.

“We know the situation we’re in, but we’re trying to push, trying to become a better team. There’s a lot of young guys here that are kind of learning their way. These are big games for all of us,” Richardson said.

Boyd Gordon also scored for Arizona, and Louis Domingue made 24 saves. Shane Doan had two assists and has 41 points this season, giving him his 14th season with at least 40. The Coyotes are 2-8-1 in their last 11 games.

Calgary got back defenseman Dennis Wideman after an arbitrator reduced his 20-game suspension for physically abusing an official down to 10 games earlier in the day.

“I’m just excited to get back and get playing and help the Flames win some games here,” Wideman said. “I know that this was pretty chaotic the last couple weeks and a bit of a distraction.”

Arbitrator James Oldham announced Wideman’s suspension would be reduced, ruling that the Calgary defenseman did not intend to injure linesman Don Henderson. That paved the way for him to return to the lineup. He had already sat out 19 games.

“First and foremost, I just want to wish Donnie Henderson a speedy recovery. I realize that he’s still working through his injuries and trying to make his way back and I hope to see him back out on the ice as soon as possible,” Wideman said. “As far as the ruling goes, I’m happy it was reduced to 10 games. I still maintain that it was completely accidental and I had no intent on hitting Donnie at all.”

Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary, and Joni Ortio made 22 saves. The Flames are 1-1-1 halfway through a six-game homestand.

Vermette’s power-play goal put the Coyotes ahead 2-1 3:15 into the third. He sneaked out of the corner and from the side of the net, then shot in a cross-ice pass from Martin Hanzal.

“Our power play needed to be generating a little more, a little better execution,” Vermette said. “On that play, our entry was pretty good, we executed a few tight plays and eventually we used the width of the ice. It was a great play by Marty Hanzal to see me backdoor.”

Arizona got an insurance goal at 14:18 of the third when Richardson backhanded in Doan’s rebound, then Richardson added an empty-netter.

Calgary took a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal 21 seconds into the second period. Michael Frolik cut in from off the wing on a 2-on-1 and neatly slid a pass across to Backlund, and he buried his 15th into the open net.

Backlund has been on a roll lately with 10 goals in his last 18 games. This comes after he scored just five times in the first 50 games.

Arizona tied it at 15:01 of the second on a short-handed goal of its own. Gordon blocked Dougie Hamilton‘s shot leading to a 2-on-1 in which Justin Martinook sent a pass across to Gordon, who batted it in out of the air.

Gordon has two goals in his last three games after 48 games without a goal to begin the season.

Two of his best stops came close together midway through the period second with the game tied 1-1. First he denied Micheal Ferland‘s 15-foot snap shot from the slot. Then he turned aside a dangerous chance by Mark Giordano.

NOTES: The Flames were without TJ Brodie (upper body) and Sam Bennett (upper body), who are both day-to-day. … Kenny Agostino was called up from Stockton of the AHL.

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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Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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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.