Islanders power way to weird win vs. Red Wings


Halfway through the third period of Friday’s game, the New York Islanders were down 5-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. It was a familiar situation: despite having two star centers in Mathew Barzal and John Tavares, an atrocious defense and struggling goalies were on the way to dooming the team.

Then Tyler Bertuzzi was whistled for a five-minute major, and the good part of this team took over.

In a ridiculous stretch you can witness in the video above this post’s headline, the Islanders scored an absurd four goals during that five-minute major advantage. With that, the Isles went up 6-5 … and even that wasn’t enough.

Despite ending with less than two minutes remaining in the third period, the Islanders’ defense buckled once more to allow the tying goal. Brock Nelson‘s hat trick goal was the 7-6 overtime game-winner in a truly baffling display of, essentially, all that’s gone well and poorly for this confusing team this season.

Also confusing: the Bertuzzi situation itself.

As you can see, Cal Clutterbuck drew the penalty on Bertuzzi … and he didn’t make any friends in the process.

Bertuzzi expressed his regrets for slashing Clutterbuck, even though he didn’t think it should be a major.

As the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reports, Bertuzzi’s teammates agree.

Pretty zany stuff, right down to the game being sent to overtime after all of that. Oh yeah, there was also this odd fight:

Beyond the drama surrounding Clutterbuck and Bertuzzi, this night stands as a lucky win for the Islanders, even if it’s hardly an example of them cleaning up problems that have been plaguing them all season.

And those issues have been especially rough lately, particularly when Thomas Greiss has been in net instead of Jaroslav Halak. The Isles’ goalies have been bad far too often, yet it’s not just on them, as the defense has been porous. Coming into Friday, the Islanders were allowing an NHL-worst 35.3 shots against per game, four more than the 31.2 they’re producing. So it’s not merely about this being “live by the sword, die by the sword.” There’s clearly a balance issue for the Isles.

How much of it is on Doug Weight, the personnel, or the goalies? It’s tough to put a percentage on each concern, but you wonder if management is cringing at all of this, especially with Tavares’ future hanging in the balance.

The Islanders are a mess. At least on nights like these, they’re a fun mess.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

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

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.