Thomas Vanek out, Drew Stafford in for Game 3

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vanekhurt.jpgThomas Vanek is not expected to play in tonight’s Game 3 match against the Boston Bruins but it’s not all bad news for the Buffalo Sabres. Solid winger Drew Stafford is supposed to return after suffering from concussion symptoms, the Boston Herald reports.

The Sabres may be missing their best goalscorer in Thomas Vanek, out with a lower body injury, but they’ll be getting back another pretty good player in Drew Stafford tonight. Stafford, who had 14-20-34 totals in 71 regular season games, missed the first two games with a concussion he suffered late in the regular season. He had failed a neuro-psych test prior to Saturday’s Game 2, but he passed one yesterday and he’ll be in the lineup tonight, most likely skating with Tim Connolly and Tyler Ennis.

Coach Lindy Ruff said Vanek, meanwhile, has made no progress with his injury, believed to be a left foot or ankle.

Vanek is a more valuable player, being that he is the team’s leading goal scorer. Still, having a decent scoring threat such as Stafford come back should help fill some of the gap left by their ailing sniper. The Sabres seemed to fall apart once Vanek was injured, though the odd scoring outbursts allowed by Ryan Miller and Co. might have happened anyway.

Still, if the Sabres want to make a legitimate run for the Stanley Cup, they’ll need Vanek back. We’ll keep an eye on the winger’s condition going forward.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?