Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher has employed a 1-3-1 defensive system that discourages offense, with one player standing at the blue line, three on the red line and another on the back blue line. The Sabres fell into that trap during a 3-0 loss the Lightning.
Philadelphia had no plans to let Tampa dictate their game Wednesday.
Just 30 seconds into the game, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger got the puck on his own faceoff circle, and he waited for the Bolts to forecheck. And waited. And waited. And waited. He didn't move for 30 seconds, and no one else did, either. The refs finally blew the whistle.
Guess what? The situation repeated itself. Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette defended the tactic.
"They have a set forecheck in the neutral zone, so we have a set breakout,” he said. “As soon as we get some pressure, we'll get into our outs. If they don't want us to stand there, they should come after us. Why are they going to just stand there?"
Said Tampa forward Dominic Moore: "We have our system, they have their system, and that's the way it is."
It was not the ideal return for Pronger, who was playing for the first time in seven games after suffering an eye injury.
"That's not hockey in my book," Pronger said. "But whatever, the league's letting them do it. Would you pay money to watch that? I wouldn't, either. That was a TV game, too. Way to showcase the product."