Blues survive wild finish to take Game 3 from Stars


If you spend any time on social media, you know that hockey fans have a lot to say about officiating during any contest in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. And you can apply that griping – accurate or overwrought – to basically all over forms of competition.

It was difficult to ignore some of the key calls in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars in Game 3, giving the Blues a 2-1 series lead.

The headline-grabbing moments came late. For one, Patrick Maroon scored the game-winner with 1:38 remaining in the third period after it sure seemed like Maroon got away with an interference penalty against Esa Lindell to create all of that one-on-one time with defenseless Stars goalie Ben Bishop.

But, personally, it sure seemed like the Stars tripped a Blues player in Dallas’ zone to help open up the odd-man rush that allowed Dallas to score a 2-2 shorthanded goal. An optimist (or someone who’s not a fan of either teams?) might rationalize it as two missed calls canceling out. Maybe.

(It’s quick early on and then in an additional replay, but you can see Andrew Cogliano bring his opponent down before scoring. You could make an argument that was penalty-worthy, and the same with Maroon, or you could argue for just one, or neither.)

We can debate those moments until we’re blue (or Blues) in the face, but another pivotal moment came when an official didn’t doom a team. Colton Parayko was (correctly) called for putting a puck over the glass with 44 seconds remaining, giving the Stars a power-play chance to tie things up. The Blues finally held off the Stars that time around, holding onto a win.


Don’t discount the Blues holding off the Stars at the end, as Dallas was remarkably resilient in managing comebacks in this one. The Blues lost leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 before finally holding off the persistent Stars. The wildest stretch happened during the third period, as Dallas and St. Louis combined for three goals in just 2:46 of game time, and also combined for four goals in 5:16. For such a buttoned-down Game 3 defensively, and a series that’s largely involved skin-tight defense, this was a stunning scoring spree.

Well, it would be a more stunning score spree if, you know, this postseason wasn’t consistently mind-blowing.

Both goalies were generally strong in Game 3. There was some concern about Ben Bishop after he had difficulty getting to his feet making a save (and maybe was a little slow on a 2-1 Blues goal), but Bishop seemed to play quite well overall, so maybe that was a dodged bullet. Bishop and Jordan Binnington made some huge, difficult saves in Game 3, giving us the goalie duel we expected heading into Round 2.

[More on Bishop’s injury scare]

After carving out an impressive three road wins against the Winnipeg Jets in Round 1, the Blues remain perfect away from home during this run, as they won this first skirmish in Dallas. The Blues are up 2-1 in Round 2, but if the Stars’ hustle is any indication, more wins won’t come easily.

And there might be more controversy.

The Stars will host the Blues in Game 4 at American Airlines Center on Wednesday. Game 4 airs at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN (stream here).

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
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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
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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.