EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 15: Matt Nieto #83 off the San Jose Sharks skates against the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL game at Rexall Place on November 15, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

With Hertl out, rookie Nieto gets big opportunity

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The San Jose Sharks have a daunting task ahead of them tonight as they look to end the Anaheim Ducks winning streak at 10 games. In preparation for that, Sharks coach Todd McLellan has shaken up the team’s lines, according to CSN Bay Area.

The trio of Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, and Joe Thornton has been great so they’ll stick together. However, that line was formed by bumping up Pavelski when rookie Tomas Hertl suffered a major knee injury. So while it’s worked out, it also made the Sharks more top heavy.

They’re hoping that another rookie in Matt Nieto can help alleviate that. The most noteworthy change from McLellan’s shakeup was moving Nieto to a line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau. Nieto, 21, has just six points in 26 games this season, but he’s also been averaging a mere 11:44 minutes per contest.

“If I am [on that line], obviously I’ll try to make the most of it,” Nieto said. “It’s a good opportunity for myself. I’ll work hard, and try to support those guys.”

Tommy Wingels, Tyler Kennedy, and James Sheppard are projected to make up the third line while Andrew Desjardins, Mike Brown, and John McCarthy are likely to serve as fourth liners.

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?