The Tampa Bay Lightning will be minus a couple of key players tonight when they host Anaheim. One of those players, of course, is Steven Stamkos. But another is defenseman Sami Salo, who will miss his second straight contest after suffering a lower-body injury in the same game that Stamkos broke his right tibia.
The good news is that Salo could be back soon. Per team reporter Missy Zielinski, the 39-year-old will travel with the Lightning on their upcoming (and very tough) four-game road trip, which starts Saturday in Phoenix.
Salo has one goal and four assists in 16 games. He also logs an average of 20:06 in playing time, the fifth most on the club. Based on relative Corsi, the Lightning are a better possession team with him on the ice than not.
Which is to say, Salo’s absence shouldn’t be overlooked, even if the major focus has rightly been on Stamkos.
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.
They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: