Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four

Gaborik a fit on suddenly high-scoring Kings


Those big trade deadline deals. They can put a contending team over the top. They can also be nothing but a bust.

Put Marian Gaborik into the first category. Although, one opponent remains, as the L.A. Kings prepare to face the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final, with Game 1 going Wednesday.

Gaborik, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the deadline in March, leads all NHL players in these playoffs with 12 goals, including three in the final four games in the Western Conference Final against Chicago. He also hasn’t been a liability in the defensive end of the ice. In fact, he’s been solid in that department, too.

And the Kings, even after finishing 26th in league scoring during the regular season, have been lighting it up in these playoffs, averaging a league-best 3.48 goals per game.

The plan to bring in a forward that could help the Kings in the scoring department began long before the deadline.

“This is something (head coach Darryl Sutter) and I had talked about last summer. We were always a top defensive team,” Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told reporters on Tuesday.

“You want to be able to do both, but you never want to lose that hallmark of what our success has been in being a good defensive team that’s hard to play against.

“It had to be a player that most important fit, that gave us an element, that was willing hopefully to buy into what it takes to play here.

“But the thing, too, with the timing, it’s the fit of the player, what type of character he has, but also the timing of when you bring in a player of that caliber. Certain things have to be established for a franchise before you do something like that.”

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?