Video: Rick Nash’s first goal since Dec. 30 helps lead Rangers over Panthers

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NEW YORK (AP) Rick Nash scored his first goal since returning from a leg injury and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves in leading the New York Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Monday night.

Viktor Stalberg, Mats Zuccarello and Tanner Glass also scored for the Rangers, who moved two points ahead of idle Pittsburgh for second place in the Metropolitan Division. New York has nine games left in the regular season, one more than the Penguins, winners of six straight.

Nash gave New York a 3-1 lead at 11:14 of the third period with his 13th goal of the season and first since returning to the lineup March 12. He had been sidelined since Jan. 22 because of a bone bruise.

Vincent Trocheck and Jiri Hudler scored for the Panthers, who lost their second in a row. The Atlantic Division leaders are two points in front of Tampa Bay with nine games to go, one fewer than the Lightning have left.

Al Montoya stopped 28 shots for Florida, which had a goal waved off by the officials early in the third period.

This was a bounce-back game for the Rangers, who gave up a season-high 52 shots and were totally embarrassed in a 4-1 loss at San Jose on Saturday.

Lundqvist was lifted in that game after giving up four goals on 47 shots in 49 minutes. He had a relatively quiet start Monday until the Panthers got going with roughly 7 minutes left in the second period and applied pressure the rest of the way.

Stalberg gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 11:51 of the first, beating Jaromir Jagr to a puck at the point and converting a 2-on-1 with Dominic Moore.

Zuccarello snapped a shot from the inside of the right circle into the top corner on a second-period power play to extend the margin to 2-0.

Lundqvist got help from the post on a shot by Jussi Jokinen during a goal-mouth scramble in the second period. A goal by Florida defenseman Steven Kampfer was waved off early in the third because the officials thought his stick was too high when he batted in a rebound.

The play was reviewed and the call was upheld.

Trocheck cut the margin to 2-1 by deflecting in a pass from Jokinen at 6:51, and the Panthers had a chance to tie it when Jokinen broke in short-handed at 10:27. Lundqvist stopped him, and Nash restored the two-goal lead with a shot from the right circle as the power play ended.

Hudler cut the margin to 3-2 with 36 seconds to play, but Glass scored into an empty net in the waning seconds to ice the game.

NOTES: This was the opener of a three-game road trip for Florida that includes games at Boston and Tampa Bay. … Six of the Rangers’ final nine games will be played at home. … The Rangers played a video tribute to Jagr in the first period to honor him for moving into third place in NHL history in goals (746) and points (1,857). … Stalberg’s nine goals and 11 assists have all come at even strength this season. … Florida D Dmitry Kulikov got hit in the throat in the third period by a shot from Rangers D Keith Yandle. … New York has won five straight at home against Florida.

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.