Pittsburgh Penguins v Colorado Avalanche

Duchene: Avs loss to Iginla-less Flames ‘a joke’


Although the it’s not getting much attention in Calgary because of something else that happened last night, the Flames’ match against Colorado got under the skin of Avalanche forward Matt Duchene and defenseman Erik Johnson.

Even with Jarome Iginla being listed as a healthy scratch in the lead-up to his trade, Calgary still managed to take a 2-0 lead in the first period that was the catalyst for its eventual 4-3 victory over Colorado.

“It’s a joke. It’s embarrassing,” Duchene said in a Denver Post report. “We put ourselves being the 8-ball every night, every single night. Enough is enough.

“I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a joke . . . They get in at 3 in the morning (today) after a loss and they want it more than us. It just can’t be that way. We played well the next 40 but we lost by a goal because we allowed two early ones.”

Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said that his team has addressed their first period shortcomings and “try not to make a major issue” so that it doesn’t consume them. However, Johnson, like Duchene seemed beyond frustrated after last night’s loss.

“I don’t know how many more times we can talk about having poor starts and not being ready to play in the first period. We’re sick and tired of it, but it’s up to us to change it,” Johnson said.

Johnson added that they’ve talked about it enough but ultimately “talk is cheap.”

The Avalanche are dead last in the Western Conference with a 11-17-4 record. Even if they win all of their remaining contests, the best they could manage is 58 points this season.

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


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…