The mighty Chicago Blackhawks came into Saturday with a three-game winning streak while the unpredictable Toronto Maple Leafs had lost three in a row. You can cue Chris Berman’s go-to “That’s why they play the game” line, as the Maple Leafs blew the Blackhawks out 7-3 tonight.
Don’t act like you saw that one coming …
Much was made about the Maple Leafs’ uneven scoring coming into this contest, yet The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle captures the turnaround quite well:
One other stat that shows how unexpected this outcome was for many: it’s been almost a decade since the Leafs beat Chicago, as their last win against the ‘Hawks came on Feb. 12, 2003, according to Mirtle.
While the Maple Leafs enjoyed contributions from a variety of players, the Blackhawks probably feel better about acquiring Jason LaBarbera after tonight’s action. Antti Raanta was pulled after two periods of play, giving way to Kent Simpson, whose NHL debut didn’t go swimmingly.
It’s a long season, so upsets can happen. The Maple Leafs showed that tonight, and face a chance to build momentum, as seven of their next 10 games take place in Toronto.
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?