The Buzzer: Bellows helps Islanders extend winning streak; Barkov shines for Panthers

NHL Scores
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Three Stars

1. Kieffer Bellows, New York Islanders. With Anders Lee out of the lineup due to injury there was an opportunity for Bellows to get a look on the Islanders’ top line. He took advantage of it on Saturday. Bellows scored two goals within five minutes early in the third period to help the Islanders get a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. That win extends the Islanders winning streak to eight games and keeps them in sole possession of first place in the East Division.

2. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers. The Panthers remain one of the biggest surprise stories in the NHL this season and were 4-2 winners on Saturday night to reach the 40-point mark in only their 27th game. That has them in a tie for first place with the Tampa Bay Lightning (though the Panthers have played one extra game). Barkov has been a huge part of their success all season and that continued on Saturday with a three-point effort, including two goals. He has 11 goals and 31 total points in 27 games this season.

3. Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights. He really should be in the MVP discussion this season. Stone is one of the league’s elite two-way players and is on some kind of a run right now. His two-goal effort in the Golden Knights’ 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night helped them extend their lead in the West Division and extended his current point streak to seven consecutive games. He has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) during that stretch.

Other Notable Performances From Saturday

Alex Ovechkin scored career goal No. 716 in the Washington Capitals’ 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers to move to within one goal of Phil Esposito for sixth place on the all-time list. Read more about the Flyers’ struggles here.

Jake Guentzel scored a power play goal and Casey DeSmith stopped all 24 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season to help the Pittsburgh Penguins extend their winning streak with a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, continuing to gain ground in the East Division.

Keith Kinkaid stopped all 18 shots to shut out the Boston Bruins, while Artemi Panarin recorded a point in his return to the lineup for the New York Rangers. The Rangers were 4-0 winners.

Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Blake Coleman, and Erik Cernak all had two points for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators. The Lightning raised their 2020 Stanley Cup banner before the game. Read all about that right here.

• The Winnipeg Jets are making the North Division race interesting after beating the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second time in three games.

Sean Monahan scores two goals for the Calgary Flames in a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens to get another win for coach Darryl Sutter.

Evander Kane scored his 11th goal of the season to help the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks.

Thatcher Demko stopped 34 out of 35 shots to continue his recent strong play to help the Vancouver Canucks get a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. He has a 5-1-0 record and a .952 save percentage in his past six starts.

Highlights Of The Day

Zach Werenski scores in overtime to help the Columbus Blue Jackets get a much needed win over the Dallas Stars.

Tyler Johnson opens the scoring for the Tampa Bay Lightning while falling to the ice.

This Vancouver Canucks goal is pure chaos and helped them get a win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Read more about that goal here.

Scores

New York Rangers 4, Boston Bruins 0
Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Dallas Stars 3 (OT)
Calgary Flames 3, Montreal Canadiens 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Buffalo Sabres 0
New York Islanders 3, New Jersey Devils 2
Washington Capitals 5, Philadelphia Flyers 4
Tampa Bay Lightning 6, Nashville Predators 3
Florida Panthers 4, Chicago Blackhawks 2
Winnipeg Jets 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Vegas Golden Knights 5, St. Louis Blues 1
San Jose Sharks 3, Anaheim Ducks 1
Vancouver Canucks 2, Edmonton Oilers 1

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.

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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.