One reason why 3-on-3 overtime is great is because of all the open ice. That really gives skill and speed to take over and it is really fun to watch. That leads to a lot of fast breaks and odd-man rushes. But even with the extra room to work, you usually don't see players get as much room as Nicklas Backstrom got on his breakaway winner.
So how did the play develop to get one of the Caps' best players so wide open? You can watch a replay of the goal above.
The play starts with Blues forward Colton Parayko trying to enter the Caps' defensive zone with the puck. He gets pressured by Backstrom and John Carlson and loses his stick and the puck.
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Patrik Berglund comes in behind Parayko and tries to chip the puck deep into the zone, thus giving him and Vladimir Tarasenko a chance to get to the bench. Both players head over for a change.
There's just one problem. The puck doesn't go deep into the corner as both Berglund and Tarasenko assumed, but hits Parayko's stick allowing T.J. Oshie to quickly recover it.
Now the Blues are in trouble. With no stick, Parayko has to go back to the bench as well meaning all three players are there leaving the rest of the ice wide open and the Caps with the puck.
Parayko immediately sees his teammates' mistake and tries to tell someone to get back to play defense.
Unfortunately for St. Louis, Parayko wasn't the only one to recognize what was happening. Backstrom sees the play developing as well and wheels around to head into the offensive zone while all three Blues are headed to the bench.
Backstrom is now wide open for a pass with nothing but ice in front of him. Oshie sees him and fires the pass up to launch the breakaway which Backstrom nets past Carter Hutton for the goal.