The margin for error in the Western Conference lessened again on Monday.
The Dallas Stars moved to within one point of the Phoenix Coyotes for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference after hanging on to defeat the Winnipeg Jets by a final score of 2-1.
The Coyotes earned a single point in a overtime loss to the New York Rangers – goalie Mike Smith left the game late with a lower-body injury and was still being evaluated afterward – so they remain just barely ahead of the Stars, who have one game in hand.
“We all look up to see the out-of-town scores,” Stars’ veteran forward Ray Whitney told the Dallas Morning News. “Everybody these last three weeks will be doing that. We’re certainly watching what the other teams are doing.”
Even the Vancouver Canucks, with their struggles since the start of January and injury problems – the latest being Henrik Sedin – are still only four points back of Phoenix. Both the Coyotes and Stars have games in hand on Vancouver.
Both the Stars and Coyotes are in action on Tuesday. The Coyotes are on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Stars are in Chicago to play the Blackhawks.
Below is a short video refresher on the NHL’s playoff format this season.
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.