Ilya Kovalchuk

Brodeur’s tips help Kovalchuk dominate in shootout

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Ilya Kovalchuk has excelled in many areas of the game over the course of his career, but traditionally, the shootout hasn’t been one of them. Going into this season, he had found the back of the net in 11 of his 42 shootout chances. Enter Martin Brodeur.

“He told me a couple secrets about the goalie and what angle I should take to get more options and it’s working, for sure,” Kovalchuk said.

Kovalchuk leads the NHL in shootout goals this season with 10, including one in New Jersey’s 1-0 shootout victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. He’s one of the main reasons the Devils have picked up 11 critical shootout victories this season in 14 attempts. For the Devils, those 11 extra points have been the difference between holding onto the Eastern Conference’s sixth seed and not even being in the top-eight.

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…