The Carolina Hurricanes are trying to show that sometimes intangible quality known as killer instinct.
On Thursday, the Hurricanes host the struggling Washington Capitals in a Southeast Division showdown that could very well eliminate Alex Ovechkin’s crew from the divisional race.
The Capitals sit fourth in the division, one point up on the Florida Panthers. Washington also trails the Hurricanes by 10 points and have played the same amount of games, 25, as Carolina.
“Obviously, when you’re at the top of the division, there’s going to be important games where teams are looking at you to gain some ground,” Hurricanes center and captain Eric Staal told the Washington Post.
“Especially that we won the game here [Tuesday], it’s big. We want to make sure we follow that momentum up and really shut the door.”
The Capitals lost six of their first seven games to begin the truncated season, quickly putting them behind in the sprint to the playoffs.
The Capitals have shown glimpses that perhaps they are turning it around, like that three-game winning streak to begin the month of March. Any good vibes from that winning streak seemed to have been wiped out by three consecutive losses.
The Capitals’ struggles have emulated that off their 27-year-old star Alex Ovechkin.
He has nine goals in 25 games and no goals or points in his last three games. As a result, he’s been highly criticized, which is something first-year head coach Adam Oates has taken issue with.
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?