Tanner Glass cemented himself in Manitoban lore this evening, scoring the game-winning goal as the Winnipeg Jets won their first NHL game since 1996, a 2-1 decision over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Three big storylines emerged from tonight’s contest:
1) Burmistrov’s breakthrough: Heading into the year, one of the major criticisms facing Winnipeg heading was a lack of true offensive talent up front. No disrespect to Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little or even Evander Kane, but there just didn’t appear to be a gamebreaker on the roster. Tonight, though, the Jets might’ve found their guy. Alex Burmistrov — the 2010 first-round pick that doesn’t turn 20 for another four days — assisted on both Jets markers and led all forwards in ice time, with 21:07. That effort earned him third star honors for the game.
2) Noel speaks, players listen: Coming into tonight’s contest, Jets head coach Claude Noel said his team was “underachieving” and “way below the bar.” Winnipeg dropped its first thee games by a combined score of 18-5 and looked brutal doing so. But after getting called to the carpet, Noel’s charges responded with an inspired, physical and occasionally frenzied effort at home. With four minutes to go, Tanner Glass went at it with Chris Kunitz while Jim Slater dropped the gloves with Ben Lovejoy in a spirited battle.
3) Winnipeg actually got some goaltending: Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec had been mediocre-to-awful through the first three games, but the latter stepped up with a solid 27-save effort. The highlight came late in the second period with the Jets up 2-0 — Pavelec stopped Richard Park’s two-on-one opportunity moments before turning aside a point-blank chance from Pascal Dupuis:
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?