Minnesota will probably be without Matt Moulson for the first time this postseason on Friday night, as he’s unlikely to dress for Game 4 versus Chicago with a lower-body injury.
Head coach Mike Yeo addressed the situation on Thursday, saying Moulson had been dealing with the injury for a while. The 30-year-old winger has been something of a disappointment this postseason, scoring just three points in 10 games, but did register an assist on Erik Haula’s game-winner in Game 3 and notched two points in the final three games of the Colorado series.
With Moulson out, Matt Cooke’s return to the lineup is all but inevitable. Cooke is eligible to return from his seven-game suspension for kneeing Tyson Barrie, and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher indicated Cooke will be back in on Friday.
“That’s up to the coaches, but I’m sure he’ll be put right back in the lineup,” Fletcher said, per the Star-Tribune. “He’s one of our top checkers and one of our top penalty killers.
“Certainly against a team like Chicago, his speed, his experience and his ability to help shut down top players, I think, would be most welcome by the coaching staff.”
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…