Believe it or not, there are hockey games going on during a day in which almost every American who isn’t a sports contrarian will be watching the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Green Bay Packers. By now you should have a pretty good idea about NBC’s Game of the Week between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals (start time: 12:30 pm ET), but there are two other contests that will take place before the world is captivated by swirling pigskins and occasionally witty commercials.
As always, these start times are according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).
New Jersey @ Montreal
The Devils have earned at least one point (and eight wins) in their last 11 games, yet the question is: why? The best comparison I can think would be an employee giving his or her two weeks notice and then working twice as hard during those 14 days.
Montreal comes into this game on a three-game winning streak with a chance to go into a virtual tie with Boston atop the Northeast Division if they earn a win. (The Bruins will have game in hand once this game ends though) You have to wonder if the Habs are a bit peeved that they’re facing the re-animated Devils in this one, but they need to get it done either way.
St. Louis @ Tampa Bay
After winning six games in a row and the first three games of their 12-game homestand, the Lightning finally lost to the Washington Capitals on Friday. The Bolts have a great opportunity to get their home ice mojo back, though, because they are hosting the Blues (probably the NHL’s worst road team with a league-low seven away wins).
Whether the Capitals get to within a point of the Lightning’s Southeast Division lead or not, Tampa Bay should have some serious regrets if they drop this game.
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.
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?