When the Philadelphia Flyers took on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, one of the more surprising lineup moves was Flyers coach Peter Laviolette’s decision to put Jakub Voracek on the third line with Sean Couturier and Max Talbot.
Voracek excelled with Claude Giroux last season and the assumption was that duo would continue to play together in 2013-14. Laviolette partially moved Voracek because he was coming off of a lower-back injury and wanted to reduce his workload, but the bench boss also likes the idea of having his top three lines more balanced, according to CSN Philly.
That might not be reason enough to put Voracek on the third line again for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, but the 24-year-old can see some upside to playing on the bottom-six if that’s what’s asked of him.
For one thing, he thinks highly of Couturier and likes playing alongside him. However, moving to the third line also means that he tends to avoid the opposition’s top shutdown defensemen.
“Claude is always going to play against the better defensemen, the shutdown defensemen,” Voracek said. “It should be an advantage for me.
“I don’t want to say I am playing against worst players, but obviously, not going against their top defensemen. I just have to take advantage of that. That is what Lavy is pointing out – spread out their lineup and try to get the offense going for all three lines.”
The Flyers were held to just one goal on Wednesday and are consequently still searching for their first victory.
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…