Special teams key as Bruins eliminate Hurricanes; Pastrnak plays in Game 5

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So far, it is indeed looking like “Elimination Wednesday.” The Bruins rank as the latest team to advance to the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs after knocking out the Hurricanes in Game 5. The Bruins won Game 5 by a score of 2-1 to win the series 4-1, leaving the Hurricanes with a sad end to a solid season.


Special teams makes difference as Bruins eliminate Hurricanes in Game 5; Pastrnak makes impact

If this is a sign that the Bruins’ power play will be a factor as it’s been so often during recent seasons, then the B’s are going to look a lot like the team that easily won the 2020 Presidents’ Trophy.

Actually, you could say similar things about David Pastrnak. You’d think he hadn’t missed any time considering how Pastrnak played for the Bruins against the Hurricanes in Game 5.

While Petr Mrazek thwarted some great Pastrnak attempts, including on a breakaway, Pastrnak still looked dangerous. That including registering two primary assists on key power-play goals for the Bruins.

No doubt, special teams represented a big difference-maker. The Bruins connected on their first two power plays of Game 5, including Patrice Bergeron‘s sneaky goal with mere seconds remaining in the second period. In that case, Bergeron and the Bruins made Jordan Martinook and the Hurricanes pay for a bad boarding hit that could have justified much more than a two-minute minor.

The Bruins made those power-play opportunities count, while the Hurricanes couldn’t connect on theirs (0-for-3) in Game 5.

Call it Elimination Wednesday?

Lightning need OT to bounce Blue Jackets

Avalanche end Coyotes’ season with blowout

Golden Knights eliminated Blackhawks (also on Wednesday, technically, in some time zones)

Painful end to Hurricanes’ season

Much like the knocked-out Blue Jackets, the Hurricanes put forth credible efforts despite being bounced by the Bruins in five games. That said, there must be some crushing thoughts of “what could have been.”

What if James Reimer didn’t get burned on that pivotal Jake DeBrusk goal in Game 4? Could the Hurricanes have accomplished more with David Pastrnak on the shelf? Rod Brind’Amour might still be a little irritated by some officiating bad breaks earlier in the First Round.

But the Hurricanes nonetheless see a bit of a step back after that breakthrough, jerky 2019-20 season. From here, they’ll face plenty of questions about how to get to that next level, including whether Justin Williams will retire.

No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 5 Carolina Hurricanes (BOS wins series 4-1)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT) (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 13: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2 (recap)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Bruins 3, Hurricanes 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 17: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Bruins 2, Hurricanes 1

• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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.