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The Eastern and Western Conference playoff landscapes couldn’t be any different at the moment.
Out East, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins advanced to the conference final with relative ease — the Penguins dispatched of the Senators and the Bruins took care of the Rangers in five games each.
Out West, it’s a different story as both the LA-San Jose and Chicago-Detroit series are headed to Game 7 showdowns.
San Jose forced the one-game, winner-takes-all finale with a 2-1 victory on Sunday in Game 6 at HP Pavilion, where the Sharks have yet to lose this postseason.
But now, San Jose faces a tall task in trying to get a win at Staples, where the Kings have yet to lose this postseason.
In the other series, Chicago sent the series to Game 7 after rallying from a 3-1 deficit, most notably with a 4-3 win at Joe Louis on Monday in Game 6.
The ‘Hawks rallied to even the series by doing what they do best — scoring goals.
After notching just six through the first four games of the series, Chicago has scored eight over its last two while going a 3-for-8 on the power play.
With the wins, Chicago now reaps the benefits of being the No. 1 seed and will host Game 7 at the “Madhouse on Madison” — the United Center.
The Blackhawks are an impressive 5-1 at home this postseason and boasted an 18-3-3 mark at home during the regular season, the second-best record in the NHL.
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?