Their first experience in the NHL’s regular season with three-on-three overtime didn’t end well for the Winnipeg Jets.

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Their first experience in the NHL’s regular season with three-on-three overtime didn’t end well for the Winnipeg Jets.

And they were sour about it today.

"It’s terrible. It’s a terrible part of hockey. It’s not hockey," Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien said this morning after his team lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning here Friday night.

"It ain’t hockey. It’s ‘Just let the kids play.’ It’s stupid.

"Just keep it four-on-four, five-on-five. Let’s just play hockey."

The Jets dropped to 4-2-1 on the season when Ondrej Palat scored on a three-on-one rush at 36 seconds of Friday’s overtime.

Byfuglien’s teammate Bryan Little wasn’t quite as negative, but still didn’t like it.

"It’s just trying to get used to it at this level and trying to play it," Little said today, shaking his head. "You can’t really get beat up the ice so you kind of have to be conservative, almost, and wait for your opportunities.

"I had a breakaway last night and missed and as soon as the rebound goes out, the other team has an odd-man rush.

"It’s really the first to score on their chance that’s going to win."

Little said the issue remains a dilemma for the league in a player’s eyes.

"I’d rather see it settled in five-on-five like a normal game but you can’t be playing an extra five-on-five for 10 or 20 minutes," he said. "You’ve got to cap it some time.

"It’s a tough way to lose but the shootout is an even worse way to lose. I’m not a fan of it today but maybe when we get a couple of wins I’ll like it a little more."

Jets coach Paul Maurice said he understands his players’ opinions.

"The hockey players, and I think this is true of the whole league, want to play five-on-five," Maurice said. "And second to that, four-on-four because it’s more of the team-game concept. The idea that more goals get scored to keep us away from the shootout is still preferred.

"I haven’t heard their answers but I gather it’s that they don’t love it but it’s still better than the shootout.

"It’s closer to the free-lance game. That’s the way we all feel. It’s exciting. The fans need to be entertained. We play a pretty exciting game. There seem to be a lot of chances for both teams. But I’d rather see a game end in three-on-three than the shootout so I’ll take it.

Today, as the Jets prepared for their Sunday matchup here against Minnesota (a 5 p.m. start), right-winger Drew Stafford was held out of practice.

Maurice said Stafford is a player against the Wild.

Sunday is Game 4 of the team’s six-game homestand.