The Wraparound: Lightning not ‘sugar coating’ Game 3 focus

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down each day’s matchups with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

An 0-2 deficit. A road game in Columbus. No Nikita Kucherov, and a “banged up” Victor Hedman. That’s not an ideal situation for the Presidents’ Trophy winning Tampa Bay Lightning heading into Game 3 Sunday night (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN; Live stream).

“We’ve got to win the next game,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after Game 2. “That’s it, there’s no sugar coating it.”

Jon Cooper dubbed his team’s current predicament as a “five-alarm fire.” To begin, Tampa needs to stop or at least slow the Blue Jacket’s buzzsaw when they get going. In Game 1, as they begin a comeback down 3-1, Columbus scored three times in less than seven minutes in the third period to complete the upset. That momentum lingered into Game 2 as they mounted a 3-0 lead within the first 21:28 of the game. When it’s rained, it’s poured.

Three of Columbus’ nine goals have come via the power play; add in a Josh Anderson shorty and special teams have been a huge factor for the Blue Jackets. Tampa, meanwhile, is 0-for-5 with the man advantage after boasting a 28.2% success rate during the regular season.

The pressure in this series has never been on the Blue Jackets. It remains with the Lightning as they look to avoid an 0-3 hole. An historic season in Tampa was fun to watch, but it’s Stanley Cup or bust for the franchise following a 62-win regular season where they featured three 40-goal scorers and the likely Hart Trophy winner in Nikita Kucherov.

It’s an experience group that Cooper is leading, one that features a number of players with plenty of experience playing deep into the postseason and in Stanley Cup Finals. They’re not going to allow the pressure to get to them in what will be an electric Nationwide Arena in Game 3. It’s time for a reset and finding a way to get back to the form that brought them so much success through 82 games.

“We’re focused on Game 3,” Stamkos said. “There’s nothing we can do anymore, so there’s no sense in pouting right now. We’ve got to go into a difficult building and find a way to win a game and we’ll go from there.”

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Game 3: Islanders at Penguins, 12 p.m. ET (Islanders lead 2-0): One of three series that could end up as 3-0 by Sunday evening. The Islanders have frustrated the Penguins, keeping their stars quiet. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel have combined for one goal and three points through two games. Crosby and Guentzel have been limited to only three shots apiece. There won’t be any comeback in this series if the big names don’t have a hand in the production. (NBC; Live stream)

Game 3: Jets at Blues, 7:30 p.m. ET (Blues lead 2-0): Something for the Jets to keep in mind as they head to Enterprise Center for Game 3: They won 22 games away from home this season, a franchise record. Something to keep in mind for the Blues as they head home: According to the NHL, teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series are 318-50 all-time, and when those two games were won on the road, that record is 72-20. (CNBC; Live stream)

Game 3: Sharks at Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET (Series tied 1-1): Martin Jones was fantastic in Game 1. Martin Jones was 2018-19 regular season Martin Jones in Game 2. Who will wee see in Game 3? San Jose’s chances of advancing rest on how their goaltending holds up vs. Vegas. Game 2 has to be the aberration for the Sharks. (NBCSN; Live stream)

MONDAY’S SCHEDULE
Game 3: Bruins at Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 3: Capitals at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (CNBC)
Game 3: Predators at Stars, 9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 3: Flames at Avalanche, 10:30 p.m. ET (CNBC)

PHT’s 2019 Stanley Cup playoff previews
Capitals vs Hurricanes
Islanders vs. Penguins

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs
Lightning vs. Blue Jackets

Predators vs. Stars
Blues vs. Jets
Flames vs. Avalanche
Sharks vs. Golden Knights

Power Rankings: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup
• 
Roundtable: Goaltending issues, challenging the Lightning
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 1 schedule, TV info

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    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

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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.