NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Red Wings renew hostilities in original six matchup

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

The Rangers came into this season wanting to change their approach to the game and through three games, it’s worked pretty well.

After a disappointing five-game loss to the Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs, head coach Alain Vigneault decided it was time to play a little more like Pittsburgh.

This season, they’ve focused on speed and playing better defensive hockey.

“It’s not one of our priorities,” forward Derek Stepan said of playing fast, per the NY Post. “It is the priority.

“Number 1, is to play with speed. Number 2, we want to defend, which maybe we got away from last season. We’re coming back hard and we’re coming back to take care of the middle of the ice.”

The results have been pretty good so far (they’re 2-1). New York certainly appears to be faster, but have they been that much better in their own end?

They’ve allowed 10 goals in three games and have been scored on at least three times in each of those contests.

But like any new system, it’ll take time for everyone to get on the same page. It’s also important to point out that the Rangers have been dealing with a few injuries on defense, as Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein have both missed some time. Klein is expected to play tonight.

As for the Red Wings, their season didn’t exactly get started on the right foot.

They dropped their first two games against Tampa Bay (6-4) and Florida (4-1), but managed to get a big 5-1 win at home against Ottawa on Monday night.

One of the positives that came out of the victory was that Mike Green, who scored a hat-trick, looked like his old self.

“We saw him do amazing things in Washington,” teammate Darren Helm said of Green, per MLive.com. “(Monday), we saw him do a pretty amazing thing, get a hat-trick. He scored some pretty nice goals. Hopefully, he can build off that and keep things rolling. It was pretty awesome to watch.”

It’s no secret that there are question marks on Detroit’s defense, but if Green can continue producing, that would help them immensely.

Speaking of pleasant surprises, Thomas Vanek has been strong in his first three games as a Wing.

After a disappointing season in Minnesota last year, the veteran has two goals and five points in 2016-17.

Expect to Detroit to be without Niklas Kronwall in this one. The team’s number one defenseman has yet to make his regular season debut because of a knee injury.

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.