NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Lightning vs. Islanders; Sharks vs. Coyotes

Getty

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign with a doubleheader tonight. The New York Islanders host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Arizona Coyotes host the San Jose Sharks at 10:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the early game online, you can do so here. To catch the late game, click here

The Tampa Bay Lightning got off to a solid start in 2016-17, as they won five of their first six regular season games. But times have been a little tougher during the last few days.

Things seemed to have turned on Thursday night. The Lightning were waiting for the Canadiens in Montreal, while the Habs were playing the first of a back-to-back situation in Brooklyn.

Despite being well-rested, the Bolts ended up losing a 3-1 decision to the Canadiens and it seems to have rattled them.

They followed that up by losing 3-1 to New Jersey on Saturday and were blown out 6-1 by the Rangers on Sunday.

“We have to stop the bleeding as fast as we can,” said Ryan Callahan, per the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s not like we haven’t done it before with this group. It doesn’t concern us that way. But it needs to be better and it needs to be better right now.”

Actually, Callahan’s right. They went through this exactly a year ago.

As beat reporter Joe Smith points out, the team lost three straight in regulation between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31 of last year.

The Bolts will conclude their six-game road trip in Brooklyn tonight. They’ll play four of their next five games at home before taking off for another five-game road trip starting on Nov. 14.

The Islanders have been going through somewhat of a goalie controversy since Saturday, when agent Allan Walsh, who represents Jaroslav Halak and Jean-Francois Berube, tweeted about the team’s desire to keep three goalies on the roster.

“Everyone knows it’s not the ideal situation. I think we’ve been repeating ourselves,” Berube said, per Newsday. “It’s hard to get ready for a game when you don’t have the workload you get when you have your own net. You really don’t have a rhythm in your practice. It is what it is. You have to find some way to get ready.”

Thomas Greiss is expected to start for the Islanders.

In the late game…

The Sharks have been rolling since last week. After dropping a pair of decisions to Pittsburgh and Detroit, they’ve bounced back by winning three in a row against Anaheim, Columbus and Nashville.

San Jose is starting a stretch where they’ll play seven of their next nine games on the road. They’ll play in Arizona tonight before returning home for two games against Calgary and Pittsburgh. After that, they’re away from the Sharks Tank from Nov. 8 through Nov. 19.

They even left for Arizona earlier than usual so that they can enjoy some team bonding activities.

“Guys in here know each other really well. I don’t know if we can get any closer than where we are right now,” said defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, per CSN Bay Area. “But, [when] you have some new faces, it’s always fun to have a night [with] just the 23 guys on the team.”

The season couldn’t have opened much worse for Arizona. They’ve managed to collect just two wins (both against Philadelphia) so far and have won just once in their last seven contests.

Losing starter Mike Smith hasn’t helped either. Both Louis Domingue and Justin Peters have struggled to fill Smith’s shoes.

One specific area that the ‘Yotes would like to improve is the special teams. Their power play currently ranks 28th at 10.7 percent and their PK is 27th at 72.4 percent.

“Special teams decide the game a lot of the time,” defenseman Alex Goligoski said, The Arizona Republic. “It has a few games for us. I think we’re penalty killing too much, and that’s usually a problem. It’s tough to kill off (chances) when you’ve killed five, six or more. But power play, we’re executing pretty good a lot of the time. We can still get a lot more stuff to the net and create some chaos down there.”

Scroll Down For:

    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    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

    austonmatthews
    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    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
    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    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
    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    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.