Blues coach says Halak could be back by playoffs

The St. Louis Blues clinched a 2013 playoff berth on Tuesday. If only deciding which goalie to start could be so black-and-white.

The team’s No.1 goalie spot was already up to debate with Jake Allen and Brian Elliott enjoying their own intermittent spans of strong play, but head coach Ken Hitchcock threw an extra wild card in the mix: Jaroslav Halak might just be good to go.

Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford “don’t read anything into it from there,” after dropping that bomb. Maybe Rutherford won’t, but plenty of fans and pundits might embrace this invitation to debate the trio’s relative merits.

If you want help doing so, check out their season stats:

Elliott: 22 GP, 12-8-1, .903 save percentage and 2.41 GAA
Halak: 16 GP, 6-5-1, .899 save percentage and 2.14 GAA
Allen: 15 GP, 9-4-0, .905 save percentage and 2.46 GAA

Those 2013 numbers don’t exactly roll out an obvious answer, unless you place a ton of stock in win-loss record. Then again, one might counter that Halak, 27, holds the advantage based on his glorious playoff run with Montreal in 2010.

Hitchcock might provide good advice, then, because gauging the best goalie option isn’t that much easier than deciphering an unfamiliar language.

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: Bullet dodged?