Flip the calendar back to January.
The Washington Capitals had one win in their first seven games. But after a terrible start, they found their game as the season wore on, eventually taking the Southeast Division.
They finished the regular season with an 8-1-1 record in their final 10 games, giving rise to the belief the Capitals could cause some damage in the playoffs.
It didn’t work out that way. The Capitals won the first two games of their first-round series against the New York Rangers, but lost four of the next five games, capped off with a crushing 5-0 defeat on home ice in Game 7 on Monday.
“This is the best team, team-wise, that we’ve been on. We had the depth, we had the coaching, the structure, the system,” Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green told the Washington Post.
“Things that happen during series that just seem for whatever reason at the wrong time happen to us, that’s no reflection of the guys in the dressing room or how bad we wanted it. The heart and the depth of the guys throughout the lineup is not the reflection of how it should end. “
Capitals’ star Alex Ovechkin threw 13 registered hits in the final loss. But he was held off the actual score sheet.
In fact, Ovechkin didn’t record a single point in the final five games of the series and was a combined minus-three over that span. He was also reduced to one shot on net in Game 7.
But he had 13 hits.
“It’s very frustrating,” Ovechkin told NHL.com. “You’re here to win the games and try to win the Cup.”
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?