An unusual strategic play from Wednesday's Flyers-Lightning game has caused a stir of reaction from NHL observers.
Just thirty seconds into the game, Flyers defencemen Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen circled back into their zone to collect the puck. The Lightning lined up in a 1-3-1 trap defence, with Martin St. Louis ready to forecheck at the Flyers blueline and three teammates behind him standing across the centre red line.
Timonen made one pass to Coburn, who chose to hold on to the puck instead of skating into the trap. Nearly 30 seconds elapsed while play came to a standstill.
The Flyers did not move the puck out of the zone, and Tampa Bay did not attack. The players on the ice stood at a stalemate until play was whistled dead.
The sequence was repeated a second time when play resumed, and was again blown dead.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said that NHL hockey operations contacted the on-ice officials in Tampa Bay during the game, but only to advise them that they should not interfere with coaching tactics.
Dreger suggested that the 1-3-1 forecheck would become a hot button topic at next week's NHL general manager's meetings.
Fellow TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie gave his thoughts on the unusual situation.
"The Lightning are playing something called the neutral zone trap, it's only been around as long as the game itself," explained McKenzie. "Now all of a sudden Peter Laviolette orchestrates something that says if they aren't going to play aggressive we aren't going to play aggressive and we're in front of your home fans so let's see how you like that. Let's let this play out and see how it goes."
Some players who watched the game on television tweeted their thoughts as well.
"This games on National TV... Way to sell it boys!" tweeted Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul.
"Tampa Bay Lightning are chipping away at our escrow 1-3-1 at a time." tweeted Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette.
TSN's Wednesday Night Hockey panel was asked if there should be a penalty for "illegal defence" like there is in the NBA.
"Yes, this is typically something that could really hurt hockey," said former NHL head coach Marc Crawford. "Fans don't want to watch that type of a system where nothing is happening. I think unfortunately this is absolutely something that the league will have to address."