Eliminating the New York Rangers in efficient fashion – five games – in the Eastern Conference semifinal has afforded the Boston Bruins’ coaching staff an opportunity to rest its players.
After a day off Sunday, the Bruins did not skate Monday, the Memorial Day holiday.
Two days ago, the Bruins knocked off the Rangers to advance to the third round of these Stanley Cup playoffs.
But the break is coming to an end, with practice expected to resume Tuesday in anticipation of the Eastern Conference final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“[Monday] is the last day [off]. They need to get back on the ice here,” Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien told reporters, as per NHL.com.
“I thought two days was a good thing because we’ll have at least a couple of days — Tuesday, Wednesday — to practice. This time of year there’s not a ton of things you can do with your team more than get them some rest and still have a couple of days to accomplish a lot.”
The Bruins are returning to the conference championship series for the second time in the last three years.
In 2011, not only did they make it to the conference final, but they went on win the Stanley Cup.
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.
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…