PHT Morning Skate: Tough to score Leafs tickets; How do Preds shut down MacKinnon?

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• The Colorado Avalanche are ready for the crazy hockey fans in Nashville. “I don’t know if there’s any way to quiet them. Just come out and enjoy the atmosphere, no doubt. It’s probably one of the better playoff buildings to play in,” Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said. (NHL.com)

• The parents of one of the teenagers who passed away in the bus crash in Humboldt, Saskatchewan are hoping that their tragic loss can serve as a catalyst for a greater movement within the province. (The Hockey News)

• Rookie Brock Boeser was worried that the back injury he suffered this season could have been career-threatening. Thankfully, he’s expected to make a full recovery. (NHL.com)

• With Taylor Hall set to play in his first career playoff game, it’s safe to assume that he’s embraced life in New Jersey. (Sportsnet)

• According to CBC, the Maple Leafs put 96 tickets for sale to general public and most of those were singles. Good luck finding an affordable seat at the ACC this postseason. (CBC.ca)

• The Bruins and Maple Leafs are evenly matched teams, but there’s a substantial difference between on the blue line between these two rivals. Boston’s defense is superior and it’s not even close, according to Stanley Cup of Chowder.

• The Washington Capitals aren’t getting wrapped up in the amount of shots they take. They prefer firing less pucks on net but having more quality shot attempts. (Washington Post)

• Who should the Predators roll out onto the ice when Nathan MacKinnon jumps over the boards for the Avalanche? Well, there’s a few quality options, but Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis probably give them their best chance to shut him down. (On the Forecheck)

• NBC Bay Area looks at five questions that will likely determine the winner of the Ducks-Sharks series. (NBC Sports Bay Area)

Steven Stamkos has done a lot for the city of Tampa Bay, but it’s time for him to come through with a Stanley Cup this spring. (Tampa Times)

• The New York Rangers shouldn’t rush to hire a new head coach. It’s critical that they find the right person to help groom their young players. (New York Post)

• Up top, check out the highlights from last night’s game between the Flyers and Penguins.

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

    Ilya Mikheyev
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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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

    austonmatthews
    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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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
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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

    matty beniers
    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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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.