NHL on NBCSN: Fleury’s shutouts earning donuts for Golden Knights fans

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Tuesday night’s matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

There’s a long history of NHL teams providing fans with certain food-related benefits should they or a player achieve a specific feat in a game. 

• New York Islanders fans used to receive free chili from Wendy’s if they scored three goals. (It used to be six goals.)

• Free 10 oz. Frosty’s were available from Wendy’s if the Nashville Predators scored five times.

• The Detroit Red Wings had a deal with Arby’s where if a player scored a hat trick fans would receive free curly fries. Tough times offensively saw the promotion tweaked early this season to make it so the free fries would be given out if the team scored at least three goals in a game.

So you can bet Vegas Golden Knights fans are enjoying the recent run of form of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The netminder has helped the team win his last four starts and five of his last six. His last two outings saw the very-soon-to-be (Wednesday!) 34-year-old post back-to-back shutouts against the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks.

[WATCH LIVE – 7 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

Last season, the Golden Knights introduced a promotion with Krispy Kreme where fans could receive a dozen donuts after every Vegas shutout. They recorded five during the regular season and four more in the playoffs.

Through 25 games this season, the Golden Knights, who have their own donut, have five shutouts, all thanks to Fleury. So of course he wanted to benefit from the giveaway.

“I love donuts, I love Krispy Kreme too so I may have to go back,” he said via the Las Vegas Sun. “But I feel bad because they have to give so many donuts away. I don’t know, maybe I’ll save them a box.”

It’s a pretty good bet there will be more free donuts coming for Golden Knights fans. Fleury currently leads the NHL with five shutouts. He’s one of only 10 goaltenders in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to record five shutouts in his team’s opening 25 games of a season — a feat he also achieved in 2014-15 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He now has 53 career shutouts, tied with Nashville’s Pekka Rinne for 23rd all-time, and just one behind Hall of Famers Ed Giacomin and Bernie Parent who are tied for 21st.

Kenny Albert (play-by-play) and Shane Hnidy (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from United Center in Chicago.

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NBC Sports examines the improbable first-year success of the Vegas Golden Knights and delves into the future of the NHL’s newest franchise with an exclusive digital series entitled Desert Gold presented by MGM Resorts International. Episode 1 debuts across NBCSports.com, YouTube and Facebook Watch on Tuesday, ahead of Vegas’ road game against the Chicago Blackhawks. This is the first-ever digital sports series of which MGM Resorts has been a presenting partner. Click here for more information.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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

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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

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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

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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.