Jake Gardiner

Gardiner has ‘elevated his game,’ says Carlyle

While one Maple Leafs defenseman is getting raked over the coals, another is basking in the praise of a head coach who hasn’t exactly sung his blessings all year.

Jake Gardiner — a healthy scratch for Game 1 of the Toronto-Boston series — played 27:45 in Game 4’s overtime loss to the Bruins, and according to Toronto coach Randy Carlyle, played very well.

“I think Jake is moving better than at any time he’s moved this year,” Carlyle said, per the Globe and Mail. “I think his competitiveness on the defensive side of the puck has gone up dramatically from where he was at Christmas when he came back.

“Obviously, we didn’t feel we were getting that from him or he would have been in our lineup. He’s elevated his game here in the playoffs – he has an element that every team would like.”

Gardiner is only 22 years old. Drafted 17th overall in 2008 by the Ducks, he was acquired from Anaheim in 2011, along with forward Joffrey Lupul, for defenseman Francois Beauchemin.

Related: Jake Gardiner’s agent thinks Maple Leafs should #FreeJakeGardiner

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.