Palat wins second straight rookie of the month award


While most expect Nathan MacKinnon to take this year’s Calder Trophy, Ondrej Palat is making a late push for consideration.

The Lightning forward earned his second consecutive rookie of the month award on Tuesday, capturing March honors after winning January’s as well (the NHL didn’t give out awards in Feburary, due to the Winter Olympic break.)

Palat, 23, led all rookies with 16 points in 16 games last month, scoring at least one point in nine of the 16 games while racking up a five-game streak from Mar. 8-17. As a result, Palat is now biting at MacKinnon’s heels on a number of statistical leaderboards for first-year players…

MacKinnon: 74 GP, 23 goals, 33 assists, 56 points, plus-20 rating

Palat: 75 GP, 19 goals, 32 assists, 51 points, plus-27 rating

It’s worth noting Palat has a slight edge in average TOI per game (17:59) to MacKinnon’s 17:04.

As for the March award, a number of other rookies were in the running:

— Calgary’ Joe Colborne (6-5—11 in 16 games),

— Anaheim’s Patrick Maroon (3-8—11 in 14 games)

— Florida’s Nick Bjugstad (1-10—11 in 17 games)

— Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson (5-5—10 in 16 games).

Previous winners of this season’s rookie of the month award were San Jose’s Tomas Hertl (October), Nashville’s Marek Mazanec (November) and Los Angeles’ Martin Jones/Chicago’s Antti Raanta (December co-winners).

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?