Thanks in large part to a three-point game from forward Jonathan Marchessault, the Florida Panthers were able to win their second consecutive game to open the 2016-17 season by beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday night.
It was also a big night for veteran goalie Roberto Luongo who stopped 21 shots to pick up his 438th win in the NHL.
That win moves him to sole possession of sixth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list, moving him ahead of Hall of Famer Jacques Plante. Assuming he stays healthy, he should be able to move into the top-four by the end of this season.
He trails Terry Sawchuk (447) by only nine wins for fifth place, and is only 16 behind Curtis Joseph (454) for fourth.
The obvious asterisk that will get pointed out here is that Luongo has played the bulk of his career in the shootout era where he’s had an opportunity to pile up a bunch of wins that the likes of Sawchuk, Plante and Joseph never had. That is certainly true.
Since the start of the 2005-06 season Luongo has been able to add 46 wins to his career total thanks to the shootout. Before then those games would have simply ended in ties. But even if you knock 46 wins off of his career total, he would still be in the top-12 on the NHL’s all-times win list and end up in the top-10 by the end of this season anyway.
The bottom line with Luongo is that he has had a pretty spectacular career that has featured both tremendous longevity and durability at a physically demanding position (he is still playing at an elite level at an age where most goalies have badly declined), as well as periods of dominance.
It has not yet resulted in a Stanley Cup, but he did take the Vancouver Canucks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 (a series where he recorded two shutouts, a fact that gets forgotten because of the way the series ended) and he has won an Olympic Gold Medal.
At 37 and coming off of hip surgery over the summer the Panthers would probably be wise to give him some rest throughout the season to make sure he remains rested and refreshed for a potential playoff run. They signed James Reimer to a five-year, $17 million contract this summer to help do just that.
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.
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.
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.
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.