BOSTON — The NHL’s decision to switch to 3-on-3 overtime periods this season has made the extra session much more exciting and cut down on games being decided by shootouts.
But not everyone loves the league’s new format, and you probably can guess who is most opposed to the change: NHL goaltenders.
Thursday night gave Tuukka Rask a chance to voice his complaints, as the Bruins netminder yielded a juicy rebound on a breakaway that led to Phillip Di Giuseppe’s overtime goal in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 3-2 win.
“I mean, I’ve had it with these 3-on-3 overtimes,” Rask said after the loss. “It’s just scoring chance after scoring chance. But, you just try to win the games, right? I was hoping (the Bruins) would score a quick goal like last game (against the Tampa Bay Lightning), but it didn’t happen.”
The Bruins have had plenty of experience with the new format of late, as they’ve now gone to overtime in four consecutive contests, winning two and losing two. The extra frames have been especially taxing for Rask and backup Jonas Gustavsson, who was able to fend off the Lightning on Tuesday before Brad Marchand delivered the OT game-winner.
“It’s usually just wide-open shots, breakaways or two-on-ones,” added Rask, who made 25 saves on 28 Carolina shots. “And there are no wide-angle shots or point shots. It’s just scoring chances.”
The B’s are just 5-7 in games decided in overtime this season, so Rask clearly has a reason for frustration.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Bruins-Hurricanes:
— Di Giusseppe’s game-winner was the result of a savvy play by the Hurricanes and a breakdown by the Bruins.
Cam Ward corralled the puck in Carolina’s end, and rather than letting his team go for a change, the Hurricanes goaltender pushed the puck ahead, catching Boston flat-footed in the process. The result was a wide-open breakaway for Canes forward Jeff Skinner and a clean-up job for Di Giusseppe as Rask left the Bruins’ net open.
“We talked about it before overtime, too,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We said, ‘Be careful, when they give it back to the goaltender, they’re making a change. It’s a set play.’ (Patrice Bergeron) wanted to come and change, but they used that stretch pass, their other two guys are up, so probably not a good change at that point.”
— Apparently all that extra hockey is taking its toll, as several Bruins noted they felt a bit sluggish after returning from a two-game road trip in Florida.
“Obviously we had a tough trip there with two overtime games,” Rask said. “Coming home, you know, it was very hot out there (Thursday). I felt cramping up and very sluggish.”
“(Thursday night) was one of those nights where we didn’t have our legs,” Bergeron added. “But at the same time, you have to have your head, I guess, and be focused.”
— Bergeron reached a bit of an undesirable milestone by taking two penalties in the first period. The Bruins captain now has 48 penalty minutes this season, a new career high. His previous career high was 44 penalty minutes, which he set last campaign.
— Rask may have been a bit grumpy after the game, but on the bright side, at least he had something else to celebrate:
— Gustavsson had some serious technical difficulties with a water bottle in Tuesday’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. At the team’s morning skate Thursday, the backup goalie got the chance to give his side of the story:
— Bruins defenseman John-Michael Liles faced off against his former team for the first time since being traded from Carolina to Boston on Feb. 29. But he wasn’t too interested in waxing poetic about his days with the Canes after the game.
“We knew that they’re kind of on the outside looking in right now,” Liles said of facing the Hurricanes. “They’re battling pretty hard, and we knew they were going to come out that way. They’re a tough team to play against.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images