The Playoff Buzzer: Rask dominates for Bruins; MacKinnon keeps scoring for Avs

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  • The goalies were the stars for Boston and Colorado as they helped their teams tie their Round 2 series’.
  • Boston’s top-line comes through in a big way against Columbus.
  • Nathan MacKinnon is unstoppable right now offensively. 
  • Boston Bruins 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1 (Series Tied 2-2)

    It was the Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask show for the Bruins as they tied their Round 2 series with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bergeron scored two goals while Rask stopped 39 shots in the 4-1 win. David Pastrnak and Sean Kuraly also scored goals for the Bruins in what was their most complete game of the series so far.

    Colorado Avalanche 3, San Jose Sharks 0 (Series Tied 2-2)

    The Avalanche are not going away. After stunning the No. 1 seed Calgary Flames in Round 1, the Avalanche now find themselves tied with the second-best regular season team in the Western Conference four games into their Round 2 series. Philipp Grubauer shined for the Avalanche on Thursday while Nathan MacKinnon continued to play like the superstar that he is, making a noticeable impact every single time he was on the ice.

    [NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Three Stars

    1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins. On a night where all of the Bruins’ best players came through, Rask was the best of them all. He stopped 39 out of 40 shots including a penalty shot and a handful of shorthanded opportunities for the Blue Jackets. He was the difference in the game and bailed his teammates out on more than one occasion. He would have had a shutout had it not been for a missed call on a puck into the spectator netting.

    2. Philipp Grubauer, Colorado Avalanche. Grubauer has been great for the Avalanche the entire postseason and played his best game yet on Thursday night, stopping all 32 shots he faced to record his first ever postseason shutout. He is now up to a .929 save percentage for the playoffs and has been a huge part of the Avalanche’s surprising run.

    3. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins. The Bruins needed their best players to shine in Game 4, and they all did. Bergeron came through in a big way with a pair of goals, both on the power play, to help spark the team’s offense. Bruce Cassidy reunited his top line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak at the start and they quickly made an impact with two goals in the first seven minutes.

    Highlights of the Night

    Rask’s biggest save of the night came early in the first period when he turned aside Boone Jenner on a penalty shot.

    Nathan MacKinnon just keeps on producing, extending his point streak and scoring his sixth goal of the playoffs to break a scoreless tie in the second period.

    It has been a tough stretch for Pastrnak, but he helped get the Bruins rolling on Thursday night with a big goal for both him and the team.

    Factoids

    • Grubauer is the first German-born goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the second of German nationality to do so (Olaf Kolzig is the first). [NHL PR]
    • MacKinnon’s point streak has now reached eight postseason games, tying him for the third-longest streak in Avalanche history. [NHL PR]
    • Ohio native Sean Kuraly scored against his hometown team on Thursday night when he gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead midway through the third period. [NHL PR]

    Friday’s schedule

    Game 4: New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN (CAR Leads 3-0) (Live Stream)
    Game 5: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN (Series Tied 2-2) (Live Stream)

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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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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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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.