The Los Angeles Kings are having a good December. For proof, here are some bullet points:
— They’re 9-1-0, with the only loss coming in Chicago after they’d play the night before in Ottawa. Which is to say, no shame there.
— They’ve outscored their opponent by a score of 32-13.
— Back-up (to the back-up) goalie Martin Jones (8-0-0) has three shutouts, with a 0.98 goals-against average and .966 save percentage. The 23-year-old has also allowed his team to win games it didn’t necessarily deserve to win, like on Dec. 11 against Toronto.
— Among the teams Los Angeles has beaten this month, some good ones: St. Louis, Anaheim, San Jose, and Colorado.
And here’s the crazy part — the Kings aren’t even that satisfied.
“I think we’re on the right track,” said Anze Kopitar, per LA Kings Insider. “Is our game as sharp as it can be? Probably not. But we’re collecting points, and that’s what it is this time of the year. You have to collect points, even though maybe you’re not playing the best hockey. The way this Pacific Division has been going, you lose a couple, you fall back in a pretty big way, so we just want to keep on going, keep plugging away, and we’ve done a pretty good job with that.”
L.A. will keep “plugging away” tonight when its hosts the Stars in its last game before the Christmas break.
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: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.