The early returns on 3-on-3 overtime have been overwhelmingly positive—if it’s not necessarily more fair than treading ice until a shootout, it’s at the very least a ton more fun to watch. It’ll be just as fun to watch trends emerge: will certain strategies trump others on the wide-open rink? Are certain teams better equipped than others? Well, yes, obviously.
When the rule change was announced, everybody’s first thought was Oh shit, the Blackhawks are going to be awesome at this. They are. Chicago has gone to overtime three times, and won all three, and they’ve only needed a combined 2:57 to do it.
On Saturday, it was Toews, from Kane and Seabrook (not a bad consolation defenseman with Dunan Keith on the shelf) to beat Tampa Bay 1-0 in OT. Last night, it was Toews from Kane and Seabrook to beat the Ducks 1-0.
In 3-on-3, goals come off mistakes. It doesn’t take a big one to give the counterattacking team enough space to make something happen, so the best overtime teams are the ones that don’t make mistakes and don’t squander their chances. That’s the Blackhawks’ top line to a T. And if you give Jonathan Toews time to pick his shot, he’s going to put it somewhere unblockable—like over Frederik Andersen’s left shoulder.
Consider this another perk of 3-on-3: it adds even more value to superstar players, and facilitates them doing superstar things.