TAMPA — Defenseman Jason Garrison tried to remember the last time he scored a breakaway goal.
"Probably Pee Wee," he said, smiling.
Welcome to the wildly entertaining — and to some, goofy — new 3-on-3 overtime format, which took center stage in the Lightning's 3-2 win over the Flyers on opening night at Amalie Arena on Thursday.
"Personally, I don't think it's fair," said Ben Bishop, the winning goalie of the new format. "One breakaway, then another breakaway. I think the shootout, it's fair both ways. This is going to be a little bit more of a gong show."
Garrison made history with the NHL's first 3-on-3 winner, his second goal of the game, beating Flyers goalie Steve Mason on a backhand 2:17 into the exasperating extra period. Valtteri Filppula sparked the goal with a great hustle play along the wall.
"Lunacy for 2:17," coach Jon Cooper said.
"Crazy," wing Ryan Callahan said. "I was having a heart attack on the bench."
Also in the extra period, Mason robbed defenseman Anton Stralman on point-blank chances, Lightning forwards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos fumbled a 2-on-0, and Bishop stopped his second penalty shot of the night. "We don't get to talk about (Garrison) unless (Bishop) came through the way he did," Cooper said. "He picked up where he left off."
"(Bishop) was our first star," Garrison said.
It had been an emotional night in front of a sellout of 19,092, the Lightning unveiling its Eastern Conference championship banner in a short but sweet pregame ceremony. Callahan said the team wanted to quickly move on, and it had to, with the Flyers giving Tampa Bay all it could handle.
The Flyers, who finished 12th in the East last season and now are led by rookie NHL coach Dave Hakstol, took a 2-1 second-period lead, taking advantage of a couple of Lightning defensive miscues and a power-play goal.
Bishop kept it close, making 13 first-period saves and 23 overall. His best might have been thwarting Claude Giroux on a penalty shot with six minutes left in the first. Bishop, beaten by a deke, desperately reached out and lifted Giroux's stick so he couldn't get a shot off.
"It was one of those things you try to do in practice with the guys, you kind of pick up their stick," Bishop said. "And I was fortunate to get a stick there."
The Lightning power play — which was puzzling for most of last season — helped salvage a rough night. Callahan scored with the man advantage with just under two minutes left in the second to tie the score at 2. Jonathan Drouin picked up an assist, one of two on the night.
The 3-on-3 overtime is meant to decrease the number of games decided by shootout. And judging from Thursday's game, not many will. The hero was Garrison, who didn't wake up thinking he'd have a multigoal game.
"But sometimes you've got to dream big," he said.
It was a bit of deja vu, with the Lightning's opener last season also ending in a 3-2 win on an overtime goal by a defenseman (Victor Hedman). "Hopefully," Cooper said, "this season carries on the same way."
First Period—None. Penalties—Couturier, Phi (high-sticking), 4:12; Stamkos, TB (hooking), 10:29.
Second Period—1, Tampa Bay, Garrison 1 (Callahan, Drouin), 1:25. 2, Philadelphia, Read 1 (Laughton, Umberger), 10:14. 3, Philadelphia, B.Schenn 1 (Umberger, Medvedev), 12:03 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Callahan 1 (Hedman, Drouin), 18:22 (pp). Penalties—Schultz, Phi (hooking), 6:30; Stralman, TB (tripping), 11:26; Medvedev, Phi (illegal stick), 16:38; Filppula, TB (tripping), 19:11.
Third Period—None. Penalties—None.
Overtime—5, Tampa Bay, Garrison 2 (Killorn, Filppula), 2:17. Penalties—None. Missed Penalty Shot—Giroux, Phi, 13:47 first, Laughton, Phi, 1:27 overtime. Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 13-3-6-3—25. Tampa Bay 10-13-4-5—32. Power-play opportunities—Philadelphia 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 3. Goalies—Philadelphia, Mason 0-0-1 (32 shots-29 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 1-0-0 (25-23).