The St. Louis Blues looked down and out against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, yet they battled back without two of their top scorers to win 6-5 via a shootout.
It hasn’t escaped the defending champs’ notice that the Blues have taken all three of their games this season and four in a row overall.
“Right now it seems like they have our number this year,” Patrick Kane said, via Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Blackhawks built three two-goal leads (2-0, 3-1 and 5-3) on Saturday – including bouncing Jaroslav Halak after one period in the process – yet the Blues kept fighting back.
If nothing else, it seems like head coach Joel Quenneville & Co. are embracing a building rivalry.
“Great hockey game, great intensity,” Quenneville said. “It’s good for the sport. Tough for us.”
Things won’t be easy for Chicago (27-7-7, 61 points) in the Central Division or the Western Conference. While the Blues (25-7-5, 55 points) remain reasonably close behind the ‘Hawks, the surging Anaheim Ducks (28-7-5, 61 points) hold tiebreaker advantages over Chicago as of tonight.
Quenneville was talking about a divisional race when he said “I expect to be in a race the whole time” tonight, but it’s probably an accurate portrayal of the battle for seeding overall.
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.