The Buzzer: Blues score 9 goals against Wild; Avalanche acquire Nemeth

NHL Scores

Three Stars

1. Ryan O'Reilly, St. Louis Blues. The St. Louis Blues picked up a huge win on Friday night to pull back to within one point of a playoff spot in the West Division. They were 9-1 winners over the Minnesota Wild in a completely one-sided game that featured a four-point effort from O’Reilly. He recorded a hat trick in the win after a Blues’ third period goal was changed from Jake Walman to O’Reilly. Jaden Schwartz also scored two goals in the win for the Blues.

2. Jonas Johansson, Colorado Avalanche. Johansson stopped all 28 shots he faced in a 2-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks to help the Colorado Avalanche move into the top spot in the NHL standings. The shutout is the first of Johansson’s career. Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen provided the offense for the Avalanche.

3. Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights. Smith scored two goals, including a shorthanded goal, and recorded five shots on goal to help the Vegas Golden Knights get a big 7-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes to keep pace with Colorado in the West Division standings. This game was not as close as the final score indicated as the Golden Knights jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Just 10 minutes into the game Vegas was winning 4-0 with an 18-2 shots goal advantage.

Other Notable Performances From Friday

Sidney Crosby recorded three points and Bryan Rust scored two goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 6-4 win over the New Jersey Devils as they move to within two points of first place in the East Division.

Artemi Panarin had two assists and a lot of the New York Rangers’ young stars (Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, K'Andre Miller) shines in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders.

Justin Schultz had three points (one goal, two assists) for the Washington Capitals in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres as they compete for the top spot in the East Division.

Brent Burns had three assists for the San Jose Sharks as they were 5-2 winners over the Los Angeles Kings to keep pace in the race for the fourth playoff spot in the West Division.

Avalanche make trade for defense depth

Not only did the Avalanche get a win on Friday night, but they also made a small trade before their game against Anaheim when they sent a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Patrik Nemeth. He previously spent two seasons with the Avalanche in 2017-18 and 2018-19. In 39 games with the Red Wings this season he has two goals and six assists and will add some depth to an already loaded defense in Colorado.

Highlights Of The Day

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith makes one of the best saves of the night as he dives across the goal crease to keep the puck out of the net.

Alex Ovechkin gets a lucky bounce for career goal 727 as he inches closer to Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the all-time list.

The Los Angeles Kings were on the wrong end of a 5-2 decision but they did score this crazy goal.

O’Reilly gets his hat trick goal for the Blues.


Washington Capitals 4, Buffalo Sabres 3
Pittsburgh Penguins 6, New Jersey Devils 4
New York Rangers 4, New York Islanders 1
St. Louis Blues 9, Minnesota Wild 1
Vegas Golden Knights 7, Arizona Coyotes 4
Colorado Avalanche 2, Anaheim Ducks 0
San Jose Sharks 5, Los Angeles Kings 2

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

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    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

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    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

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    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.

    Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

    Andrei Kuzmenko
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

    The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

    The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

    Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

    His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

    Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

    He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

    He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

    A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

    Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.