From the Associated Press:
Count Washington Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen among those around the NHL taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the league’s new 3-on-3 overtime.
A few things do seem clear about the setup: It will make goalies’ stats uglier, result in fewer shootouts and force coaches to decide whether to focus on defence or an all-out attacking style.
"I wasn’t really sure about it at first," said Niskanen, whose team hosts the New Jersey Devils in a season-opener Saturday. "Now I think it’s probably going to do what it was designed to do: Teams are going to get ‘grade A’ chances, and if that’s what people want to see, then let’s do it. Fans are going to love it and the forwards are going to love it. Goalies and ‘D’? Maybe not as much."
As the hockey season gets going this week, how teams deal with the switch from 4-on-4 in OT to one fewer skater per team could wind up having a real effect on the standings.
Consider this: A year ago, with 4-on-4 rules, 44 per cent of overtime games were decided by a goal before they got to a shootout, according to STATS, about the same percentage that it's been in the 10 years since that format began in 2005-06.
But during this preseason, the first NHL test of 3-on-3 after it was tried in the AHL, 72 per cent of OT games ended before a shootout, STATS said.
Factor in that nearly a quarter of all regular-season games over the past decade went to overtime, and what might seem like a minor rule change takes on more significance.
Continued, and here was Jason Garrison's OT winner from last night's Bolts-Flyers game: