Bruins

Is there any merit in extending 3v3 overtime? Bruce Cassidy gives his thoughts

(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The all-time record for most overtime/shootout losses in a single season is 18 — a mark shared by 2011-12 Panthers, 2013-14 Devils, 2014-15 Flyers and 2008-09 Lightning. 

The 2019-20 Bruins, with 37 regular-season games left on the schedule, are already at 18 OT/SO losses on the year. Most of those woes can be drawn from what transpires after five minutes of 3v3 overtime.

To put it lightly, the Bruins have been flat out brutal in shootout situations this year — posting a record of 0-6 in such scenarios. 

During that stretch, Boston has only beat a goaltender four times on 25 chances. Only three total players have lit the lamp in a shootout for the B’s so far in 2019-20 — Charlie Coyle (2), David Pastrnak and Chris Wagner. 

Much to the Bruins’ delight, shootouts are negated when the calendar flips to the spring and playoff hockey begins. Still, even if the current system in place might prevent ties from muddying up the standings and hurting the overall product of the game — is distributing points by way of a skills competition the best way to go about things?

Such a discussion was brought up in Toronto on Wednesday night, as the Maple Leafs and Jets put together one of the most memorable 3v3 overtime stretches in recent memory. Both clubs traded chances throughout the five minutes of action, combining for nine total scoring chances before the contest was ultimately decided by way of the shootout.

Postgame, both Toronto and Winnipeg gave their thoughts on the pulse-pounding OT sequence, and whether the product on the ice might be improved if 3v3 overtime was extended beyond its five-minute limit.

“3-on-3 is… I can’t use the words that I want to use,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice told Sportsnet. “It’s a free-for-all of fecal matter. It’s a shitshow out there, and that’s great.”

“I’d like to see more overtime, to be honest,” Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen added.

But with those added minutes of OT comes the additional toll on the players — a workload that can certainly add up over the course of a grueling regular-season slate.

"My opinion is, I think five minutes is good,” Patrik Laine said. “For us, we’re playing with three lines. Each is getting like two or three shifts max, so in my opinion, that’s pretty good. It’s a little bit (exhausting). It’s a lot of skating, a lot of room on the ice.”

So where exactly do the Bruins stand on extending 3v3 overtime? Given their shootout struggles, the answer would seem to be obvious, but it’s not so simple.