The collapse continues.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, in a bid to make it back-to-back playoff appearances, have now lost seven straight games. Their latest defeat in this free fall came Friday night to the Philadelphia Flyers, as the Leafs lost by a final score of 4-2. Not even a new franchise record for the fastest goal to begin a period – off the stick of James van Riemsdyk four seconds into the second period – could help the Leafs on this night.
Currently tied with three other teams at 80 points for the two remaining playoff positions in the Eastern Conference Wild Card, the Leafs are on the post-season bubble but will remain in the 10th position. Perhaps the only positive from the night is that the Columbus Blue Jackets, part of that four-team logjam in the East, also lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
On Friday, the Leafs found themselves down by a pair of goals in the second period and just couldn’t recover. Now the question becomes, can they recover from this latest losing streak?
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…