Bruins beat Golden Knights 3-1 in battle of division leaders

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Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports
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LAS VEGAS — Jake DeBrusk scored early in the third period to put Boston ahead for good, and the Bruins beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 Sunday in a matchup of division leaders.

DeBrusk’s shot, which came on a terrific pass from Pavel Zacha over sliding Vegas defenseman Alec Martinez, put the Bruins in front 2-1 at 2:10 of the final period. Zacha was on the second line in place of center David Krejci, who did not play because of a lower-body injury and is expected to return Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

“When I saw J.B. coming back door, (Martinez) tried to slide down, and I was able to make a play and find him there,” Zacha said.

Charlie Coyle‘s goal with 9:04 left extended the Bruins’ lead to 3-1.

Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston and Linus Ullmark stopped the final 30 shots to improve to 16-1. The only goal he allowed came on Vegas’ first shot of the game.

“You just focus on the next puck, always,” Ullmark said. “That’s the focus. You can’t change what just happened. Just keep moving forward.”

The Bruins, who lead the Atlantic Division, split the season series with the Pacific-leading Knights. The teams met Monday in Boston as Knights coach Bruce Cassidy faced his former team for the first time in Vegas’ 4-3 shootout victory. He coached the Bruins the previous six seasons, taking them to the playoffs each year.

Boston improved to 11-1-1 against Western Conference teams.

Mark Stone scored for Vegas and Logan Thompson had 24 saves.

“The compete level was high from start to finish,” Cassidy said. “We were ready. When you get into those type of games with a team as good as Boston with all the depth they have, the margins become slimmer when you’re missing some of your guys who are difference-makers.”

The Knights entered this game down their leading scorer and two defensemen, and then defenseman Zach Whitecloud appeared to injure a knee early in the second period. Cassidy said he didn’t have an update on Whitecloud.

Stone put Vegas in front 1-0 just 4:04 into the game, taking a pass from Chandler Stephenson and easily stuffing the power-play goal into the net. The Bruins entered the game with the league’s best penalty kill, and this was the 15th power-play goal they have surrendered on 100 attempts.

Boston killed the three remaining Knights power plays.

The teams combined for just 11 shots on goal in a chippy opening period between clubs that play each other only twice a season. They came to near blows five times in the first 20 minutes.

Boston came out strong in the second period, taking the first nine shots on goal. The Bruins tied it 3:55 into the middle period when David Pastrnak put a pass on Bergeron’s stick in the slot for the point-blank shot.

Those two players began the game on separate lines, but Bruins coach Jim Montgomery played them together in the second period as an overall shuffle after Boston had just six shots on goal in the first.

“Sometimes you just get a feel it’s going to be a tight game,” Montgomery said. “If you think you have the best players, you should put them together and let them win it for you.”

NOTES

Vegas top scorer Jack Eichel (lower body) didn’t play for the third time in four games. Defenseman Shea Theodore also didn’t play after appearing to injure a shin Friday night against Philadelphia. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo missed his seventh consecutive game because of an illness in his family. … Pastrnak has points in 14 of his past 15 games (11 goals, eight assists). … Three members of the United States’ women’s hockey team were in attendance. The U.S. plays Canada in an exhibition on Thursday in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Golden Knights: At Winnipeg on Tuesday night.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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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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Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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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.