The 2015-2016 NHL season began last night, and it didn’t take long for the league’s new 3-on-3 overtime format to come into effect. The Flyers and Lightning played to a 2-2 tie after regulation, and the overtime period that followed was an absolutely bonkers, insanely fun few minutes of hockey.
Because 3-on-3 allows for so much more open space on the ice, the 5-minute period is completely end-to-end, featuring odd-man rushes, breakaways, and a ton of scoring opportunities. It’s exhausting even to just watch.
The Lightning hit the post as a result of a 2-on-1 at the very start of the period.
The play continued, which caused a penalty shot.
The overtime lasted jut 2 minutes and 17 seconds in total, and featured eight shots. That’s a lot!
“Crazy,” Lighting winger Ryan Callahan said of the new format afterwards. “I was having a heart attack on the bench.”
“Lunacy for 2:17,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper added.
With all three players attacking, quick turnovers leave nobody in position to get back and defend. Goalies are basically on their own.
It’s still much too early to decide whether or not the 3-on-3 system is a fair one, or objectively better for teams than the old 5-on-5 method, or even how teams will handle it — will teams prefer forwards who can play good defence or defensemen who can score? What is clear, even after just 2:17, is how much fun it is.
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