For a roundup of the first seven games, click here. Now let’s take a look at the two late games from a busy Tuesday in the NHL.
Vancouver 4, Phoenix 3 (OT)
It seems like the most desperate teams are often the ones who win the tightest games, except in the case of elite squads such as the Red Wings and Canucks. They frequently prevail because they’re just flat-out better than everyone else.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 35 shots and Eric Belanger provided three points (one goal and two assists) in a losing effort, as the Canucks took advantage of great efforts from Dan Hamhuis (two goals) and the Sedin twins to win their third game in a row.
The Canucks bolstered their Presidents Trophy hopes by hitting the 95 point mark while the Coyotes continue to scrap and stumble, as they’re now in sixth place with 79 points in 68 games played.
San Jose 3, Nashville 2 (OT)
The theme of this recap session seems to be (slightly to obviously) superior Western teams edging out admirable scrappers. In this case, the Pacific Division-leading Sharks managed to carve out an overtime win against the desperate Predators thank to an overtime goal by Patrick Marleau.
This isn’t the first time Marleau’s scored an overtime winner against Nashville, as he also managed such a feat in a 2-1 OT win vs. the Predators on February 15th. Don’t discount the Predators’ efforts, though, as Nashville came back from two one-goal deficits to send it to extra time.
San Jose might just be peaking at the right time. They’ve won nine of their last 10 games and generally seem to resemble the team that once made the Pacific Division title an afterthought by February or so. We’ll see if that ends up making a difference during the playoffs, though.
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?