NHL Rink Wrap: Halak leads Canucks to impressive win over Avalanche

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Top player in the NHL on Wednesday

Jaroslav Halak, Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks have almost no margin for error right now in their quest for a playoff spot and they got a huge win on Wednesday night against the NHL leading Colorado Avalanche. Jaroslav Halak stopped 32 out of 33 shots to help slow down the Avalanche offense, backstopping the Canucks to a 3-1 win. Vancouver received goals from Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, and Bo Horvat, all in the third period, to get the win. The playoffs are still a long shot at this point but every point helps right now. They are still three points out of a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with a few teams ahead of them, while the Dallas Stars, the current second Wild Card team, still have three games in hand.

Highlights from around the NHL on Wednesday

The Toronto Maple Leafs scored two shorthanded goals in their 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, and this Pierre Engvall goal with just under five minutes to play in regulation is the difference in the game.

Patrick Kane hits the 20-goal mark again for the Chicago Blackhawks in their 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Boeser gets the Canucks on the board thanks to a slick pass from Elias Petterrsson.

 

Three takeaways from the NHL on Wednesday

Nobody looks good in Dadonov trade situation

The Evgenii Dadonov trade situation is a bad look for pretty much everybody involved (except for Dadonov, who did nothing wrong) as the Ottawa Senators, Vegas Golden Knights, and NHL all have to share in some of the blame for his no-trade clause being completely overlooked. Now he is stuck in a situation playing for a team that does not want him while also being at risk to be traded to another team, which would prematurely end his season. The NHL should have better records for no-trade clauses, the Senators should have known that his no-trade clause was filed properly and the Golden Knights should have known what is in the contract of their own player.

Tage Thompson remains Buffalo’s bright spot

The Buffalo Sabres are playing their best hockey of the season right now and have won seven of their past 10 games, including Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tage Thompson continued his breakout season for the Sabres, scoring two goals to give him 27 goals on the season. He seems like a lock to reach the 30-goal mark barring injury, which would be a great year for him and a great development for the Sabres’ rebuild. Along with his two goals in regulation on Wednesday he also scored the game-winning goal in the shootout.

Jonathan Toews hints at future

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said he always envisioned himself as a member of the team, but the state of the current rebuild following the Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel trades at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline has him picturing himself what it would be like to play for another team in the future. Toews still has one year left on his current contract that carries a $10.5 million salary cap hit. It is a contract that would be nearly impossible to move given how much his production has dropped without the Blackhawks retaining major salary in the trade. Toews’ actual salary is just $6.5 million next season, but that salary cap number is almost unmovable.

Thursday’s big story

Great matchup in Boston on Thursday as the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning in a battle of Eastern Conference playoff teams, and even a potential First Round matchup. You also have the Western Conference playoff race with the Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators all in action. The Golden Knights especially need a win after being shut out in back-to-back games and seeing their playoff chances drop significantly. It will also be interesting to see if Dadonov plays for them and what he does in the game.

Wednesday’s NHL Scores

Toronto Maple Leafs 3, New Jersey Devils 2
Buffalo Sabres 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (SO)
Vancouver Canucks 3, Colorado Avalanche 1
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Anaheim Ducks 2

 

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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.