The Buzzer: Four goals for Copp; painful losses for Sabres, Flames (NHL on Wednesday)

The Buzzer: Four goals for Copp; painful losses for Sabres, Flames (NHL on Wednesday)
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Three Stars: Wednesday in the NHL

1. Andrew Copp, Winnipeg Jets

Heading into Wednesday, Andrew Copp had yet to generate a hat trick in the NHL. He did one better as the Jets beat the Canucks.

Yes, that’s right, Andrew Copp scored four goals on Wednesday.

In an interesting, twist, Copp reached his hat-trick-goal on an empty net, but then batted in his fourth goal of the night on a rebound against a goalie. It’s almost as if Copp anticipated someone saying “Yeah, but you scored that third goal with an empty-netter.”

If you were wondering if he was riding a hot hand, the answer is: inexorably, yes. Andrew Copp scored his four goals on four shots on goal. This puts Copp at 10 goals on the season. In doing so, Copp tied his 2019-20 season goals total (10) and is one point shy (25 vs. 26) of equaling his points from last season. At 10 goals and 25 points, Copp isn’t far off career-highs for goals (11) or points (28).

This also continues a hot streak for Copp. With a goal and an assist in his previous two games, Copp is now on a three-game point streak (5G, 1A).

2. Filip Gustavsson, Ottawa Senators

It would be convenient for the Flames — particularly their embattled front office — if they could blame all of their issues on Filip Gustavsson. Even those who are naive (or carry water) for the Flames must admit that their issues extend beyond the spoilin’ “sicko” Senators.

After all, Darryl Sutter replaced Geoff Ward as Flames coach before Filip Gustavsson was on the radar of just about any Calgary fans.

All of that out of the way, Filip Gustavsson might be the main catalyst for the Flames going into at least a sell mode during the trade deadline. Failing to generate a single point over two games against the Senators is just lethal for the Flames’ fledgling playoff hopes.

While it’s easy to poke holes at the larger Flames’ problems, it’s foolish to totally overlook Gustavsson’s efforts.

After making 35 out of 36 saves to earn his first NHL win vs. the Flames on Monday, Gustavsson stole another one for the Senators on Wednesday. This time, the 55th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft stopped 28 out of 29 shots to beat Calgary once again. Two wins, two goals allowed in total. Impressive stuff.

This is a small sample size, but maybe there’s a chance that the Senators have a goalie they can develop for the future?

3. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Truly, it isn’t easy to choose between Hellebuyck (38 saves, one goal allowed) and Martin Jones (42 saves, two goals allowed).

It’s probably worth noting, though, that Hellebuyck was very close to recording a shutout. Nils Hoglander spoiled Hellebuyck’s shutout bid with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation, which was kind of rude. But combine that near-shutout with the Canucks’ status as slightly more viable than the Kings (Jones’ opponent), and it feels fair to give Hellebuyck the slight nod.

Hey, Martin Jones recently landed on the top three stars of the NHL (only for Monday, not Wednesday), so not all bad for the recently-heating-up Sharks goalie.

Highlights from NHL on Wednesday: Sabres streak, four for Copp

Enjoy the full highlights from the Penguins extending the Sabres’ losing streak to 15 games. (OK, Buffalo fans won’t enjoy them. Sorry.)

The real dagger was a very nice goal created by Frederick Gaudreau, finished by Zach-Aston Reese. Sidney Crosby also scored a nice one. (If you need highlights to key on.)

The NHL shared all four of Andrew Copp’s goals on their Youtube page:

Stat of the Night: Buffalo Sabres’ losing streak now at 15 games

You can read more about the Penguins pushing the Sabres’ losing/winless streak to a historic 15 games by clicking here. The short version is that, by losing 15 in a row, the Sabres are suffering through the worst losing streak of the NHL’s shootout era.


LONGEST SINGLE-SEASON LOSING STREAKS

SHOOTOUT ERA (SINCE 2005-06)

BUFFALO SABRES – 15 GAMES  – ACTIVE (2020-21)

BUFFALO SABRES – 14 GAMES – 2014-15

NEW YORK ISLANDERS – 14 GAMES – 2010-11

CAROLINA HURRICANES – 14 GAMES – 2009-10


Wednesday’s NHL scores

Penguins 5, Sabres 2
Wild 3, Ducks 2
Senators 3, Flames 1
Jets 5, Canucks 1
Sharks 4, Kings 2

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

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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.