The feeling was that the Washington Capitals would need someone other than Alex Ovechkin to step up if they wanted to turn things around. Mikhail Grabovski was that player on Friday, powering a 3-2 shootout win against the Montreal Canadiens.
Grabovski scored a goal and collected an assist before notching the shootout winner. He now has 21 points in 26 games, largely benefiting the Capitals for taking a chance on the 29-year-old in free agency. Ovechkin experienced a rare pointless night.
While the Capitals saw a four-game losing skid end, the Montreal Canadiens’ five-game winning streak is over.
The Habs are still on a nice run; they’ve generated points in all but one game since losing to the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Nov. 7. Montreal is 14-9-3 overall.
Washington eases some of the tension surrounding the franchise, improving to 13-11-2 on the season.
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…