October 09, 2015
Both the Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning played a boring third period en route to each securing a point in their first game of the season. Neither team scored in the final 20 minutes, and they combined for only ten shots on goal. Then, they went from 0 to 200 just like that. Not 60. 200.
What happened next was magical, insane, exhilarating, frenetic, and about a million other adjectives. Above all, the first regular season 3-on-3 overtime period in NHL history was awesome.
I made this joke in the game recap, but it felt like watching “The Fast and the Furious” franchise; the action came so frequently that there was a comically absurd element to what you were watching. Check out the awesome two minutes and seventeen seconds in its entirety:
In 2:17, we saw:
• Steve Mason turn the puck over and make two point-blank saves on Anton Stralman.
• Ben Bishop turn away a well-worked Brayden Schenn one-timer.
• Mason stone Nikita Kucherov, who was in all alone on the counter.
• Sean Couturier breakup a Steven Stamkos pass at the last moment that was aimed in Kucherov’s direction at the opposite post (which likely would have resulted in a goal).
• Victor Hedman intercept a long pass and work a perfect 2-on-1 with Tyler Johnson… who hit the post from right on the doorstep.
• Scott Laughton win a race to the puck, skate the length of the ice at full speed, and get taken down from behind. Penalty shot.
• Bishop turn away said penalty shot.
• Jake Voracek bully his way into the crease, only to be denied by Bishop.
• Jason Garrison skate in on Mason all alone, and finally put the puck into the back of the net.
Also, we saw how Dave Hakstol approached the start of overtime. As of now, the rookie head coach believes his best lineup is Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Mark Streit. Hard to argue with that. The Flyers were outplayed in the session, but that is primarily because Tampa Bay’s speed really becomes a factor with all of that open ice. There might not be a team in the NHL better equipped to play 3-on-3.
“We tried a little too hard to make things happen, and that cost us,” Dave Hakstol said. Judging from Twitter, everybody else was thankful that the Flyers approached the overtime the way they did:
AWESOME! OMG 3 on 3 overtime does not disappoint! Just so freaking cool. What a great move by the @NHL check it out if you haven't yet.— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) October 9, 2015
I doubt everyone caught TB/Philly, but I have an an observation about new NHL 3 on 3 OT: it's sick. Total insanity. People will love it— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) October 9, 2015
As I was watching that 3-on-3 overtime I started crying.....— Strombone (@strombone1) October 9, 2015
3-on-3 overtime hockey is basically hockey on cocaine. NHL is screwing with us.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) October 9, 2015
Not everyone is a fan of the new format. Here is what Bishop told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times:
"Personally, I don't think it's fair. One breakaway, then another breakaway. I think the shootout, it's fair both ways. This is going to be a little bit more of a gong show."
Agree to disagree there, anything but shootouts is a good thing. I’m sure that 3-on-3 overtime will normalize a little as the league familiarizes itself with the format, but for now I’ll be rooting for a tie game again on Saturday against Florida. And Monday against Florida, and Wednesday against Chicago…
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann