NHL Rink Wrap: Playoffs begin with star power, Kings outlasting Oilers

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• Despite a potentially devastating major penalty by Kyle Clifford, the Maple Leafs thumped the Lightning in Game 1.

Antti Raanta won his first career playoff start, helping the Hurricanes take care of business vs. the Bruins.

• The two West road teams won their Game 1 matchups in different ways (Kings over Oilers by a goal; Blues shut out the Wild 4-0), but both got the job done.

Juuse Saros won’t be available for the Predators for at least the first two games of their First Round series vs. the Avalanche.

Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1

After late-season injuries, it wasn’t clear if the Hurricanes would roll out a reliable, healthy goalie against the Bruins. Frederik Andersen missed Game 1, but Antti Raanta won his first career playoff game by making 35 saves against the Bruins. The 5-1 score is a bit misleading, as a Taylor Hall goal reduced Carolina’s lead to 2-1 about three minutes into the third period.

The Hurricanes responded with two goals, then an empty-netter, to remove any doubt.

Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0

Now, this Game 1 was as lopsided as the score indicates, as the Maple Leafs leveled the Lightning to a shocking degree. As mentioned in the bullet points, a Kyle Clifford major penalty could’ve been trouble for Toronto. Instead, they generated more scoring chances than the Bolts’ power play, and the Buds rarely looked back.

Beyond winning, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner enjoyed huge games, scoring three points apiece. Spoiler: Matthews and Marner will get some consideration for Monday’s 3 NHL Stars.

Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0

Heading into this First Round series, there was some question if the Blues would start Ville Husso or Jordan Binnington vs. the Wild. On one hand, Husso put up elite goaltending during the regular season, while Binnington was up-and-down (at best). On the other, Binnington’s their bigger-money goalie, and has a Stanley Cup on his resume.

Wisely, the Blues stuck with the hot hand, and Husso delivered a shutout in his first NHL playoff start.

Husso wasn’t the only driving force of this Blues win, but he could be a big difference-maker against a Wild team that generated a greater volume of shots than St. Louis in Game 1.

On a side note, this could be a situation to watch.

 

Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3

When you watch this Connor McDavid goal, and realize it didn’t summarize the entire impact of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, you might assume the Kings were in trouble on Monday. Really, you just need to watch that McDavid goal anyway.

Instead of wilting in what was a frenetic Game 1, the Kings never trailed against the Oilers. The Kings routinely took advantage of a rough night for Mike Smith, culminating in the game-winning goal with 5:14 remaining in the third period.

It seems like we can only go so long before it’s time to question the Oilers’ goaltending again. Could Mikko Koskinen be the guy in Game 2?

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

Three Stars in NHL for Monday (first day of playoffs)

1. David Perron, Blues

When will we get to the point where David Perron is no longer underrated? Honestly, it would help if he stopped raising his ceiling.

Perron was a huge factor in the Blues beating the Wild on the road in Game 1, notching a hat trick plus an assist. Since rejoining the Blues (again), he’s been a productive playoff performer. Perron generated 16 points in 26 games during their Stanley Cup run in 2018-19. He’s been even more prolific lately, generating nine points in as many playoff games in 2019-20, and then those four points in Game 1.

To some, Ville Husso’s 37-save shutout is even more impressive than Perron’s four-point game. Either way, the Wild simply need to hope that one (or both) of them cool off quite a bit.

2. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs

Let’s cheat and mush these two together. After a miserable series against the Canadiens last postseason, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner wasted no time making an impact for the Maple Leafs in Game 1 vs. the Lightning.

Each player collected three points. In Auston Matthews’ case, he scored two goals and one assist. Meanwhile, Marner generated two assists, and this goal:

3. Trevor Moore and Phillip Danault, Kings

Carry over that Marner – Matthews spirit and consider this a combined award for the line of Trevor Moore (credited with a goal and two assists), Phillip Danault (1G, 1A, may have scored the game-winner), and Alex Iafallo (1G, 1A).

During the regular season, Danault proved that he’s more than just a strong defensive forward. That carried over for the Kings in getting the edge over the Oilers in Game 1.

At 5-on-5, that trio was on the ice for three goals for and zero against. That wasn’t just luck, either. Via Natural Stat Trick, Iafallo – Danault – Moore were on the ice for five high-danger chances for, with just one against.

Jay Woodcroft didn’t have Connor McDavid out there all that often against Danault (3:21 TOI), as McDavid primarily faced Anze Kopitar (7:58). As this series goes along, it will be interesting to see which matchups each coach tries to chase. Frankly, Game 1 didn’t provide a lot of easier answers for the Oilers against the Kings.

Tuesday’s NHL Playoff Schedule

Game 1: Penguins at Rangers, 7 p.m. ET – ESPN
Game 1: Capitals at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET – ESPN2
Game 1: Predators at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
Game 1: Stars at Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET – ESPN2

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Blues vs. Wild
• Avalanche vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings

Flames vs. Stars

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
• NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup

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.

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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.