The Blackhawks’ PK was a mess (again) in loss to Predators


The Chicago Blackhawks have played two games so far this season and have yet to allow a 5-on-5 goal.

You would think that would be a promising development and have resulted in at least one win.

To this point, it has not.

The problem: While their 5-on-5 play has been mostly fine, their penalty kill has been a complete mess and already surrendered six goals. That includes the three they allowed on Friday night in a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.

One of those power play goals against on Friday went to P.K. Subban in his Predators debut when he erased an early Blackhawks lead with a thunderous slap shot from the blue line that blew past Corey Crawford.

Shortly after Niklas Hjalmarsson helped the Blackhawks regain the lead, Roman Josi erased that with a power play goal of his own.

Josi would pick up an assist on the Predators’ third power play goal when Mike Fisher scored the game-winner on a deflection in front of the net.

The common denominator in all of those goals, again, was the fact they all came on the power play as Chicago had a difficult time not only staying out of the box, but also keeping the puck out of the net when they were shorthanded. Chicago’s penalty kill was a weakness last season as well (22nd in the league), but even then they only had one goal where they allowed three power play goals in a single game.

They have already done it twice this season after also doing it in their season opening loss to the St. Louis Blues.

The other big storyline in this game, of course, was the debut of Subban in Nashville, and he seemed to constantly be involved in the action.

Along with his goal, he also helped prevent a goal when he made a sensational defensive play to break up a two-on-one, preventing a pass from getting across the ice to Patrick Kane. He also seemed to be doing his best to get under the skin of the Blackhawks in the third period, taking a couple of extra shots at Jonathan Toews and Kane around the net.

He ended up spending some time in the penalty box late in the third period, earning a roughing call against Kane (on a play where Kane was also hit for a embellishment call) and then an interference penalty late in the game for shoving Marian Hossa into the net.

In the end, though, it was a successful debut for Subban with the goal, the defensive play, and the fact he brought an incredible level of excitement to the game.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday in Chicago.

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

caufield surgery
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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

matty beniers
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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.