The odds remain stacked against the Washington Capitals, but maybe they traded for the goalie who can help them overcome such a burden.
Jaroslav Halak is shaping up to be a workhorse for Washington, as he stopped 43 out of 45 shots to help the Caps grab a key 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Capitals head coach Adam Oates said that his team needs to win all three games in a grueling California road trip, so they got the first one out of the way.
Alex Ovechkin was the other difference-maker for Washington, as his league-leading 46th goal also represented the game-winner:
That’s Ovechkin’s ninth game-winning tally of the season, which ties him with Ducks forward Corey Perry for the league lead.
This certainly stands as a big win for Washington, but they’re definitely not out of the woods. The two other bubble teams in the running for the East’s final wild card spot have games in hand, so they might end up needing a little help along the way (they don’t play against Columbus or Detroit again this season).
They also face a rough closing schedule. Consider the following:
- They finish this three-game California trip against Los Angeles and then San Jose.
- Their reward is another game against the Kings and a match against the wrecking ball Bruins at home. Then they play five of six on the road after that.
- With games remaining against other strong teams like Chicago and St. Louis, they don’t have many “layups” left. Playoff hopes-wise, the weakest teams they face are Nashville, Carolina and the Islanders (teams that could be a problem on the right/wrong nights). In other words, Capitals fans might want to buckle up for a roller coaster finish.
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?