Byfuglien rips ‘terrible’ 3-on-3 OT again: ‘It’s for the fans, not the hockey players’


OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Senators may not have played perfect hockey, but they were satisfied with the results.

Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and Craig Anderson made 38 saves as Ottawa beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Thursday night for just its second win at home this season.

“There were small, very small lapses where we got away from it at times, but I think we rebounded well,” said center Kyle Turris. “We battled for pretty much most of the game.”

Cody Ceci and Bobby Ryan scored in regulation for the Senators.

Anderson was solid for the Senators, making a number of key saves including a huge one on Mark Scheifele late in overtime.

“The two points is huge for us and to keep climbing the standings,” said Anderson. “We can just build on our game and feel good about ourselves.”

Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for Winnipeg and Michael Hutchinson turned away 29 shots.

Earlier this season, Byfuglien said he wasn’t a fan of the three-on-three overtime format and he was less than impressed with his second experience.

“It’s terrible, it’s not hockey,” Byfuglien said. “It’s for the fans, not the hockey players.”

Trailing 2-1 to start the third period, the Jets didn’t wait long to tie things up. Byfuglien stripped Erik Karlsson of the puck at center along the boards and then beat Anderson 26 seconds into the period.

“We were good in the third, I mean we were on it and had good pace,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “It’s good to see us come back to get a point. You don’t like losing in a shootout. We didn’t lose the hockey game so it’s a pretty good trip for us.”

While the Jets coach credited Anderson’s performance, he also said Byfuglien was the best player on the ice.

“He was the most dominant force and he’s been like that for a while,” he said of Byfuglien, who had seven shots and five hits.

The Jets seemed to lose some energy in the second and the Senators took advantage as they controlled the play for much of the period.

Ryan picked up his fifth goal of the season, scoring off a one-timer at the 12-minute mark to give the Senators a 2-0 lead.

But just as Ottawa looked ready to take control of the game, some poor play in their own end allowed the Jets to cut the lead to one.

Blake Wheeler won a battle for the puck behind the net and fed Ladd, who scored on a bank shot off Anderson.

The Senators opened the scoring midway through the first as Jean-Gabriel Pageau won a faceoff and dropped the puck to Ceci, who beat Hutchinson with a floater from just inside the blue line.

The goal marked just the second time Ottawa has scored in the opening period through seven home games.

“It’s nice to start the game that way,” said Ceci. “We haven’t had the best starts.”

NOTES: Ottawa RW Mark Stone served his second game of a two-game suspension. … D Chris Wideman was a healthy scratch. …The Jets remain without Grant Clitsome (back) and Andrew Copp (upper body). … Adam Pardy, Paul Postma and Patrice Cormier were healthy scratches

Related: Byfuglien thinks 3-on-3 is ‘terrible’