Phil Kessel; Craig Anderson

Phil Kessel’s big night helps Leafs hold on vs. Senators


Going into the third period, it seemed like Dion Phaneuf’s brutal hit on Stephane Da Costa would tell the story of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ win against the Ottawa Senators. (Check out that pulverizing check at the bottom of this post.)

Instead, the lasting image will be a fantastic night by Phil Kessel. Kessel scored a hat trick and added an assist to bring his season points total to five in just two games. He even looked great killing time when Ottawa emptied its net, wasting a bunch of the Senators’ time and looking dangerous throughout.

There was little indication that the Leafs would need such an explosive game from Kessel through the first two periods, though. At one point, the Maple Leafs were just embarrassing the Senators, going up  5-1 on Colton Orr’s goal at the 2:52 mark of the third.

Yet for the second night in a row, Ottawa made things a lot more interesting after digging themselves a big hole, as Daniel Afredsson scored twice and Jason Spezza earned his first goal of the season. Fittingly, Kessel’s hat trick goal put things away, even as Da Costa earned a measure of revenge by scoring to cut the deficit in half. The Maple Leafs ultimately won their second game of the season 6-5.

Here’s that awe-inspiring (but clean) Phaneuf hit.

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: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.