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3 on 3 overtime will only hurt the Pittsburgh Penguins

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A lot of fans are excited about the 3-on-3 overtime the NHL is getting this year, but the Pittsburgh Penguins would be better off with getting to shootouts

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

One of the new and exciting rules in the NHL this season is that the whole 5 minute overtime is going from 4-on-4 down to 3-on-3, in an effort to open the game up even more. Another reason: NHL general managers and governors aren't pleased with shootouts to break ties and determine wins and losses in games. The conventional wisdom is that it would be preferable for "hockey play" in the course of game to decide the game, and not the glorified skills competition known as a shootout.

Which, for a highly skilled team like the Pittsburgh Penguins, isn't a good thing. Travis Yost from TSN has the data, which is interesting, and telling.

yost shootout

yostgoalie shootout

In layman's terms? No team in the league has gotten better performances from their shooters than the Penguins in the whole league. Which makes sense, Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang are almost always among the top 5-10 performers in the league, and Evgeni Malkin is no slouch himself. And this year the Pens would also have Phil Kessel and David Perron , two above average skilled wingers.

Additionally, no goalie in the whole league has been better at stopping pucks in shootouts than Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury's athleticism and quick poke-check has made him a very formidable opponent to score on, often compounded by the fact that the other team feels pressure knowing that their team is probably already losing.

3v3 OT will be fun, and it will be interesting to see what happens. It's very possible that with Crosby, Kessel, Malkin and Letang that Pittsburgh will win a bunch of games with skill and space in hockey. However, with all that skill, a turnover would quickly have the puck going the other way for a prime scoring chance against.

Yost pointed out that the Washington Capitals (who also thrive in the shootout and have even added TJ Oshie) have shown signs of playing for the shootout. While most teams are experimenting with 2 forwards and 1 defenseman, the Caps have been trying 1F and 2D, a more defensive shell to get to the shootout.

I'm not sure if the Penguins need to be that cautious - after all, with them "taking the foot off the gas" is never a good strategy and also seems to backfire more often than not, but it is interesting to consider.

If the games go to a shootout, the Pittsburgh Penguins have really good odds of winning the game, due to their skill in and out of the net. Hopefully 3v3 OT will be as kind to the Pens.