Markstrom starts Panthers’ home opener

The Florida Panthers will probably have plenty of people in the building for their home opener Friday because they’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. The bad news for Jonathan Markstrom: they’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The big Swede is starting tonight in part because Tim Thomas (groin) is still not ready to go, according to the Miami Herald’s George Richards.

The Panthers still hold out a lot of hope for Markstrom, 23, to become the team’s goalie of the future.

His start in the NHL has been bumpy (10-20-0 with a middling .903 save percentage in 34 GP), although the team in front of him has often been cratering.

Pittsburgh isn’t likely to make life easy for a team coming off of a humilating 7-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but this would be the kind of night where Markstrom could start to back up that hype.

If nothing else, maybe he can avoid being pulled?

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?