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Lightning's Garrison first to score in new 3-on-3 OT

by Corey Long

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison became the first player to score in the NHL's new 3-on-3 overtime format Thursday.

Garrison's goal at 2:17 gave the Lightning a 3-2 season-opening win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Amalie Arena.

But the end-to-end overtime action apparently took a toll on the 30-year-old, who scored in alone on goalie Steve Mason.

"Personally, for me, I don't like to ride a roller coaster too much with the emotions," Garrison said. "So the 3-on-3 is a little bit like that. It's chance after chance, it's a high and a low, and it's exciting for the fans."

The overtime featured several scoring opportunities, including a penalty shot for Flyers forward Scott Laughton, who was denied by the left pad of Lightning goalie Ben Bishop at 1:27.

Bishop did not play in a 3-on-3 overtime during the preseason.

"I don't know if that's the best way to decide the winner of a game," Bishop said. "... It is what it is and it's fun for the fans and that's why we're here. We're entertainers, we're here for the fans and they are definitely going to get a show at the end of the game."

The NHL previously played 4-on-4 overtime. The 3-on-3 overtime is designed to create more space on the ice, allowing for more goals to be scored and more games to end in overtime rather than in the shootout.

None of the four games played Wednesday, nor any of the other six Thursday, went past regulation.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he is a fan of the shootout but believes the 3-on-3 overtime does have some positives.

"I think there's a place in the game for the shootout," Cooper said. "The part I do like about the 3-on-3 is that it's a little more team-oriented than the shootout. When the shootout comes now, it's starting to be a little bit more of an individual skills competition. In 4-on-4 and 3-on-3, you still have the team concept going. If it decides, whatever the percentages are, more games, then that's good for the League."

Flyers captain Claude Giroux said the 3-on-3 may grow on him.

"You need a good strategy to score," Giroux said. "There were a couple chances back and forth, and when you have a chance, you've got to bury it."

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