The Buzzer: Vrana nets four-goal night, Capitals shutout Islanders

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Thursday’s Three Stars

1. Jakub Vrana, Detroit Red Wings

A hat trick certainly isn’t a bad way to make an early impression.

Four goals is even better.

Jakub Vrana’s time in Washington was clearly coming to a close before they sent him to Detroit in the trade for Anthony Mantha. On Thursday, he saw some of the most offensive success as he has in a while, netting a hat trick plus one against the Dallas Stars.

Richard Panik, the other player sent to Detroit in the deal, also scored his first goal with the Red Wings. Perhaps the real winners of the trade *were* the friends the Red Wings made along the way.

The win, behind their two new players, also helped the Red Wings stave off playoff elimination on Thursday night, even as they were without their captain, Dylan Larkin.

2. Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals

There were plenty of rumors around the trade deadline involving the Capitals and adding a goalie. Against the offensively-challenged Islanders, Ilya Samsonov put up one of his best performances of the season.

The Caps and Islanders were deadlocked without a goal going into the shootout, partially thanks to the 26 saves from the young Capitals goalie. Samsonov stepped up in the shootout as well to give the Capitals an important win atop the East Division standings. It was his third career shutout, and his second this season.

3. Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina needed a win over the Panthers and Martin Necas contributed three assists in their 4-2 victory. He’s continued to have a breakout season, now with a career high of 37 points in just 43 games. Last season, he had posted 36 points in 64 contests.

His 26 are second on the team just behind the 31 from defenseman Dougie Hamilton. On Thursday, his helpers came on the last three Hurricanes tallies.

The Hurricanes are 6-0-1 against the Panthers this season, the team they are directly ahead of in the Central playoff race.

Highlights from Thursday

James van Riemsdyk netted two goals to lead the Flyers past the Rangers, including this tally.

The Panthers lost, but Aleksander Barkov had himself a nice game, including this excellent shot.

Not a bad save for Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.

Stats from Thursday

  • Bruins forward Brad Marchand has scored 12 goals in April (13 games) after he posted yet another against the Sabres on Thursday.
  • The Penguins scored two goals in 25 seconds en route to their win over the Devils on Thursday. That’s only the third quickest span between goals for the Pens this season; they scored twice in 22 seconds on March and twice in 14 seconds on February 14.
  • Aleksander Barkov’s goal against the Hurricanes gave him 20 goals this season, the sixth 20-goal season of his career. That’s the most in Panthers history.

Thursday’s NHL scores

Flyers 3, Rangers 2
Maple Leafs 5, Jets 3
Bruins 5, Sabres 1
Capitals 1, Islanders 0 (SO)
Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 1
Hurricanes 4, Panthers 2
Penguins 5, Devils 1
Red Wings 7, Stars 3
Avalanche 4, Blues 2
Senators 3, Canucks 0

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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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.