The Edmonton Oilers will be without Sam Gagner because of an ankle injury on Friday, as they face a banged-up and desperate Detroit Red Wings team.
Anton Lander will take the 24-year-old center’s spot between Taylor Hall and David Perron, according to Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins.
It’s been an up-and-down season for Gagner, who only has seven goals after posting at least 13 through the first six seasons of his career, including the abbreviated 2012-13 campaign. Gagner’s season started off rocky thanks to a high-sticking infraction by Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian. While plus/minus is a derided stat, it can occasionally at least depict a tough season, and that seems valid enough with Gagner’s -20 mark (especially since his offensive numbers leave a lot to be desired).
Lander, 22, gets a great chance to post his first point of the season between those two potent Oilers wingers. He’s gone 12 games without a goal or an assist so far in 2013-14.
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…