Avalanche jump back into Wild Card spot with win over Oilers

Associated Press
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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Gabriel Landeskog came back at the right time for the Colorado Avalanche.

Landeskog had a goal and an assist in his return from a three-game suspension as the Avalanche beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Sunday night for their third straight win.

“I felt good. It’s tough watching,” Landeskog said. “I was hungry and ready to go. But the guys have done a great job throughout the road trip to make sure we’re in a great spot and I was just hungry to come out and help out.”

The Colorado captain’s offense was badly needed with his team currently without their two leading scorers, injured centers Matt Duchene and Nathan McKinnon, and in the midst of a heated playoff race.

Tyson Barrie and Blake Comeau also scored for the Avalanche, currently one point ahead of Minnesota for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Calvin Pickard had 26 saves.

“We played really well,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “I thought we had a great start and our power play was outstanding. Our puck possession was outstanding, we were able to hold on to the puck in the O-zone and we had a lot of shots. I was very happy with the performance of the team.”

Matt Hendricks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton, which snapped a two-game winning streak.

“Tonight was one of those games where it was a desperate team battling for the playoffs,” Oilers forward Mark Letestu said. “It really showed early on. Their pace was higher than ours.”

With the loss, the Oilers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for the 10th consecutive year.

“We may not be a playoff team, but we have playoff fans,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “At some point, we have to reward them.”

Landeskog and Barrie scored in the second period to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead.

Landeskog took a feed from Carl Soderberg in front and showed good patience before sending a backhand shot past sprawling goalie Laurent Brossoit at 1:19. Barrie;s point shot deflected off of defender Mark Fayne and into the Edmonton net with 8:29 left.

Hendricks got the Oilers on the scoreboard with his second goal in two games at 2:53 of the third. Mark Letestu battled hard in front to sweep a puck to Hendricks, who tapped his second goal in as many games into a wide-open net.

However, Comeau deflected Erik Johnson‘s shot to restore Colorado two-goal lead at 9:09.

Nugent-Hopkins closed the scoring as he converted a pass from Connor McDavid with just under 7.6 seconds remaining.

Brossoit finished with 22 saves to fall to 0-3-1 this season.

There was no scoring in the first period, with Colorado putting 12 shots on Brossoit and the Oilers taking eight shots on Pickard.

NOTES: It was the third and final game of the season between the two teams this season, with Colorado winning all three. … The Avalanche have suddenly been hit by the injury bug, with Matt Duchene (knee), Nathan MacKinnon (knee), Eric Gelinas (elbow), Brad Stuart (back) and Jesse Winchester (head) all out, although Landeskog did return after serving a three-game suspension. … The Oilers have been injured pretty much all year, currently without Oscar Klefbom (foot), Andrew Ference (hip), Brandon Davidson (knee), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder), Eric Gryba (knee) and Adam Pardy (hand).

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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David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
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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.