News and notes from around the blue paint…
Chicago goes with Raanta
Antti Raanta will look to build on his wildly successful rookie campaign when the ‘Hawks take on the Wild in Minnesota tonight. Raanta hasn’t played much lately, but did stop 18 of 20 shots in a win over Edmonton on Jan. 12. On the year, he’s 12-1-3 with a 2.25 GAA and .911 save percentage.
Minnesota has yet to name a starter for tonight, but it’s likely going to be Darcy Kuemper.
Zatkoff relieves Fleury
In the second night of a back-to-back, the Pens will give Marc-Andre Fleury a rest and start Jeff Zatkoff against the Islanders.
Zatkoff struggled in his last outing — allowing four goals on 31 shots in a loss to the Oilers on Jan. 10 — but has been decent when called upon this season, boasting a 7-2-1 record with a 2.67 GAA and .906 save percentage.
He’ll be going up against Kevin Poulin in the Isles goal tonight.
Hurricanes at Sabres: Jhonas Enroth in for Buffalo; no starter yet from Carolina.
Blues at Rangers: Jaroslav Halak vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Flyers at Blue Jackets: Ray Emery vs. Sergei Bobrovsky
Senators at Lightning: Craig Anderson vs. Ben Bishop
Maple Leafs at Stars: Jonathan Bernier vs. Kari Lehtonen
Predators at Canucks: No confirmations from either team yet.
Kings at Ducks: Frederik Andersen for Anaheim; Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.
Jets at Sharks: Alex Stalock for San Jose; no word yet on a Winnipeg starter.
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…