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Explained: What Are the NHL Playoff Overtime Rules?

The National Hockey League (NHL) is the most popular hockey league in North America and is well-known for its unique overtime rules during the playoffs. This year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs will be held as scheduled, beginning in May and ending with the championship game in July.

So, if you are a fan of NHL hockey, here is everything you need to know about this season’s playoff overtime rules.

Pixabay / Pexels | As we eagerly await the upcoming NHL, here is a look at the playoff overtime rules of the National Hockey League.

What Is Playoff Overtime?

Playoff overtime is when an extra period of play is added after regulation time expires. All without a resolution to determine which team wins the match. Thus, the NHL uses different overtime formats depending on the type of game and stage of the playoffs.

What Are the Regular Season Overtime Rules?

In the regular season, a team that scores during an overtime period wins the game. If no goal is scored in overtime, then a shootout is held to determine the winner. During these shootouts, each team gets five players who take turns shooting at the opposing goalie until one of them scores. Or, all five have taken shots without any goals being scored.

Ron / Pexels | In regular seasons, a shootout is held when scores are the same – i.e., 1-1 – the team that scores during the overtime wins the game.

Thus, the NHL has used this format since 2005-06 for its regular season play. It was implemented to end games that had been too long due to sudden death overtimes dragging on for prolonged periods of time without resolution.

What Are the Playoff’s Overtime Rules?

The NHL playoffs overtime rules are slightly different compared to the regular season. Playoff overtime uses a sudden-death format in which the first team to score a goal wins the game, regardless of how much time is left on the clock. This means the game can end just one minute into overtime because a goal has been scored.

Under these rules, each team is allowed one five-minute break after regulation time has ended before they resume play in overtime. During this break, teams may make changes to their lineups and strategize how they will approach their offensive attacks during sudden death.

Pixabay / Pexels | The NHL playoff overtime follows a sudden-death style. This means that the team that scores first wins the game.

In addition to this rule change, there is also no shootout in the playoffs. If no resolution is reached after one overtime period, another will be played. For how long? Well, until someone scores a goal and wins the game. Thus, the sudden-death style decides the winner and the one who scores first wins the game.

The Final Word

The NHL playoff overtime rules are slightly different from those used during the regular season. The sudden-death format allows games to end more quickly. At the same time, it also gives teams an opportunity to strategize their offensive attacks during an extended break.

So, make sure to keep these rules in mind this postseason as you cheer on your favorite teams!

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