NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Blues vs. Wild; Kings vs. Golden Knights

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with a doubleheader on Tuesday night. In the early game, the Minnesota Wild host the St. Louis Blues at 8:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here

The St. Louis Blues are just one point out of a playoff spot, but that didn’t stop GM Doug Armstrong from unloading veteran Paul Stastny before Monday’s trade deadline. Even though the guys in the locker room probably weren’t thrilled about the move, Armstrong took a realistic look at his team and decided this wasn’t the year for them to push for the Stanley Cup.

“Crazy,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn said after the trade happened, per Jeremy Rutherford. “One or two points out, move a guy that does a lot for us. But at the end of the day, you know, that’s their decision. I guess we’ll see what happens here within the next hour.”

After getting off to a hot start, the Blues have come crashing back down to earth. They’ve lost six games in a row, including a pair of 4-0 decisions to against Winnipeg and Nashville in their last two outings.

Things won’t get much easier for them in the coming weeks, as they’ll play a home game against Detroit tomorrow before heading off on a four-game road swing that will take them to Dallas, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

It’ll be interesting to see how the group responds now that management has made it clear that help isn’t on the way.

As for the Wild, they were a little more quiet on trade deadline. Last year, they made a big splash by going to get Martin Hanzal, but they regretted it dearly in the end. This year, they shipped Mike Reilly to Montreal for a draft pick. They also lost Chris Stewart to Calgary on waivers. That’s it.

Minnesota heads into tonight’s game sitting in third place in the Central Division. They’re three points ahead of Dallas, who sits in the first Wild Card spot, and five points ahead of the Blues, who are on the outside of the playoff picture right now.

Since dropping back-to-back home games to Washington and Anaheim earlier this month, the Wild have rattled off four straight wins against the Islanders, Devils and Rangers all on the road, and they added another victory over the Sharks in overtime at home on Sunday.

In the late game, the Vegas Golden Knights will host the Los Angeles Kings at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can watch that game online by clicking here

Golden Knights GM George McPhee surprised everyone when he gave up three draft picks to land Tomas Tatar from the Detroit Red Wings. Not everyone agrees with the decision, but hey, who are we to criticize the architect of this remarkable story.

Heading into tonight’s game, Vegas is just two points behind Tampa for top spot in the league standings (the Golden Knights have a game in hand and an equal number of ROW).

This will be the second of a home-and-home series between them and the Kings. Last night, the Golden Knights got blew a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 OT loss to Los Angeles.

One of the positives that emerged from yesterday’s win, was Jeff Carter netting his first goal of the season. Carter has missed all but eight games because of an ankle injury he suffered back in October.

“I think Jeff’s had some good looks the last couple of games and I just think you see a little bit of some of those situations where if he had been playing all along he probably buries them, but he’s getting to spots where he’s getting opportunities and he’s going to get sharper as we move along here but it’s good to see that he’s getting those opportunities,” head coach John Stevens said after the game, per LA Kings Insider. “I think it’s only a matter of time before he starts to convert.”

After tonight’s game in Vegas, the Kings will enjoy plenty of time at home, as they’ll play seven of their next eight games at Staples Center.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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    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.