The Washington Capitals are in quite the fight to make the playoffs and the Chicago Blackhawks would like nothing more than to add to their misery when the two face off at United Center (7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN). The Hawks have some motivation of their own as they’re just four points back of the Predators for fifth in the West and five back of fourth.
The Caps were cruising along on a hot streak that saw them win four in a row until they ran into the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. The Caps are just two points up on the Jets and Sabres for eighth and getting back on track with a win would be huge. Leading the way of late for the Caps are Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson. Laich has four goals in the last six games and Johansson has three assists in the last two games.
What about Alex Ovechkin though? In the Caps’ last five games, Ovechkin has three goals and an assist with two of those tallies coming against the Islanders. It’s decent production, but if the Caps are going to make the postseason they’ll need more out of Ovechkin than just his ability to pick stunning upsets in the NCAA tournament.
One guy the Caps will be going without today is Tomas Vokoun as he’s got a nagging injury. Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby will hold things down in the meantime.
Chicago, on the other hand, has started to figure themselves out even without Jonathan Toews in the lineup. While Toews is still battling a concussion, guys like Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp have all elevated their games. The Hawks have been getting solid goaltending as well with Corey Crawford doing his job and it has paid off as Chicago has won six of their last eight games.
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: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.