Goalies, defense under fire through two wild periods, score tied 5-5

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Well, if casual fans enjoy goal scoring frenzies, then this game is simply a buffet of goodness. Jacques Lemaire might want to look away from the screen, though.

Flyers 5, Blackhawks 5

End of second period

Michael Leighton looked nervous early and played that way all game. He ended up getting the boot in the second period in the first game Brian Boucher returned as his backup, although at least in this case no one was injured. Instead Leighton just played like something was ailing him, allowing 5 goals on only 20 shots. Antti Niemi’s night hasn’t been much better, although he’s still in net for Chicago after giving up 5 goals on 26.

Danny Briere’s had an excellent 1 goal and 3 assists while Troy Brouwer put up an impressive 2 goals and 1 assist.

This is not a game for fans of tight checking, defensive hockey. Philadelphia is generally outplayed Chicago for long stretches – particularly in the first period – generating 4 powerplay opportunities to a stunning zero for the Blackhawks. Neither team will put this on their personal highlight reels, though.

It’s 5-5 going into the third and really … anything can happen. Maybe the teams will flip the script and produce some playoff-quality defense? Nah, that might be a little too crazy.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever

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Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…