NHL luminaries praise All-Star Game’s 3-on-3 format

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it comes to the NHL All-Star Game, less is definitely more.

While the NFL’s Pro Bowl spent years struggling with ballooning scores, little defense, a lack of effort and concerns over its long-term viability, the NHL seemingly remedied many of those same issues by changing to a 3-on-3 format last year. The four-team divisional tournament ended Sunday with victory for the Metropolitan team and excitement about the show from players and fans alike.

“I love 3-on-3,” Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau said. “I love the open space, creativity and making plays. It’s a lot of fun. It gets a little bit competitive, too.”

That last part was too often missing during the 1990s and early 2000s as double-digit scores became the norm, prompting the league to experiment with a North America vs. the World format, along with two editions in which captains drafted their teams.

But after a 17-12 final in 2015, the adoption of a 3-on-3 mini-tournament succeeded in producing both entertainment and high drama.

In the inaugural edition last year in Nashville, the two semifinal games included 22 goals, but the final between the Pacific and Atlantic ended 1-0.

On Sunday at Staples Center, the winning teams in both semifinals scored 10 goals apiece, but the final score was a mere 4-3. Nobody scored in…