Tim Thomas made his Florida Panthers preseason debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night and seemed to acquit himself pretty nicely.
“It felt good for being the first time in a game-like atmosphere for 15 months,” Thomas told the Miami Herald’s George Richards.
The 39-year-old stopped nine out of 10 shots before being replaced halfway through the second period by Jacob Markstrom. His only blemish came when Tyler Johnson scored a power-play goal.
Thomas’ presence was pretty much a last-second announcement, which might in part explain why the announced attendance at Germain arena was just 3,451.
The Lightning ended up winning 3-2 in OT, but even that came with a promising bit for Florida, as Jonathan Huberdeau scored both of his team’s goals.
It’s obviously just a small taste in a meaningless game, but Thomas and the Panthers should be happy that it was a solid enough performance.
(Thomas photo via the Panthers.)
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…