Blues keeping emotions in check with ‘big job ahead’ in Game 6

1 Comment

BOSTON — It’s going to be a long, anxious wait until 8 p.m. ET Sunday night for the St. Louis Blues. A 2-1 win in Game 5 over the Boston Bruins has set up an historic night for the city as the team seeks its first Stanley Cup championship.

A “gutsy” win, as head coach Craig Berube described it, will be enjoyed by the Blues players Thursday night, but once that’s over it’s back to business because they know getting that fourth and final win of the series will be incredibly difficult.

“We’ve got a big job ahead of us still, that’s the way I look at it,” said Berube. “I hope our team looks at it that way. We’re going to get a real good Boston Bruins team again. I thought they were really good tonight. We gutted a win out, which is great, but we’re going to get a great performance from them. We need to be good, we need to be ready.”

No Blues player has their name on the Stanley Cup. David Perron was on the Vegas Golden Knights team that fell short in five games to the Washington Capitals a year ago. Oskar Sundqvist played only two games during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Cup run in 2016, but did not meet the requirements — 41 regular season games played or one game played in the Cup Final — to get his name on the trophy. He did not play at all during their 2017 postseason.

Everyone else? Well, they’re just trying to get a handle on what Sunday night could be like.

“It’s a lot of emotion that goes through your head about that,” said forward Brayden Schenn. “We’ve been battling all year, we’ve been grinding all year, so we know obviously what’s at stake. We have some veteran guys in our locker room to help us through this and we’re going to be ready for Game 6.”

“It’s exciting but we don’t want to look too far ahead,” said defenseman Vince Dunn. “We’re looking forward to that first shift that everyone’s got to get into. Something that we’ve been thinking about since the start of playoffs is holding up that trophy. Not to think too much more about it now, it’s just making sure we start the right way at home.”

David Perron, who scored the game-winning goal after a controversial non-call, said one option to stay focused at the big task at hand might be to shut off their phones for the next few days to help block out the outside noise. Whatever will help keep their minds on Sunday night will be done.

Five months ago the Blues were at the bottom of the NHL. Now they’re one victory away from capping off an historic turnaround season. If they had it their way they’d be out playing Game 6 as soon as they could. But alas, they have to wait until Sunday night in the final home game of the season. It could be a night that ends with one more trip to Boston and a Game 7, or they could be playing “Gloria” throughout the city all night long and into the summer.

Now we wait.

“I try to keep everything in perspective and calm and cool as much as I can,” said Berube. “It’s hard. It’s hard for the players, too, but it’s important that we keep our heads and keep level headed and know that we’ve got a big job ahead of us for Game 6.”

Blues-Bruins Game 6 will be Sunday on NBC at 8 p.m. ET (live stream)

Blues take Game 5, move one win from Stanley Cup
Bruins’ Cassidy rips officiating after controversial Game 5 loss
Missed chances sink Bruins in Game 5


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

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

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

Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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.