How Does Hockey Overtime Work Playoffs? [Expert Guide!]

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One of the most exciting times during the hockey season is the postseason. Interest in the game soars and fans are left to wonder how teams will fare in the playoffs. The season comes to an end, games get increasingly exciting, and then suddenly it’s done. Playoffs start, and the hockey gods are kind enough to grant us with another season.

The postseason can be a bit of a mystery to those unfamiliar with the format and how it works. Do you know what game today is? How about tomorrow’s game? Do you even know which rounds they’re playing in?

If you’re a hockey fan, you’ve probably pondered these questions at least once or twice over the course of this season. Now is the time to find out, so let’s dive into how the hockey overtime work in the playoffs.

How Do Overtime Games Work In The Playoffs?

Similar to the regular season, overtime in the playoffs is used to determine who advances in a series. Games are typically extended and can go into multiple periods. This is in contrast to the regular season, where games are generally less than five minutes long and there are no overtimes.

If a game is tied after regulation time, the first 10 minutes of overtime are typically scoreless. However, in the very least, the momentum will swing one way or the other and a goal will be scored. Usually, one team emerges victorious and the series comes to an end. Sometimes, the series goes to a full game 7 and the winners are determined in a winner take all scenario.

What Is The Ice Time In The Playoffs?

The ice time in the playoffs is quite different from the regular season. First and foremost, there is no set schedule for how many minutes a team will play on each of the four ice surfaces. This varies from game to game and can change from period to period. For example, if your team is up by three goals in the third period, you might decide to pull your goalie and play the remaining three minutes with only seven skaters on the ice. This is a common strategy employed by many NHL teams when they’re ahead by multiple goals.

While this might sound like a recipe for disaster, it usually isn’t. Hockey is a fast-pacedgame and one that is highly dependent on skilled players making quick decisions. With more people watching the game, there is also more attention paid to individual plays and less patience for long stretches of zero scoring. When the ice time is finished, neither team typically has an advantage and the series continues. This is why you’ll see many coaches try to take advantage of this in the regular season by resting their players towards the end of games when they’re ahead by multiple goals.

What Are Shootouts In The Playoffs?

If you’re not familiar with shootouts, they’re one of the unique features of the post-season. This is where the home ice advantage comes in handy. If you’re at a game, you’ll notice that the pace of play is much faster than in a normal regulation game. Typically, after two, sometimes three, ties in the regulation time, a shootout ensues. This is where teams that won the home ice advantage go to execute their strategy. They can either choose to pull their goalie or, if they’re ahead, use all of their remaining forwards to ice the puck. Their defensemen rush out to block shots and clear the puck from the front of the net. This is also the place where coaches try to take advantage of their opponent’s weakness. If your team is playing the Flyers, they know that their goalie is not great and they might choose to focus their attack on Scott Hartnell or James van Riemsdyk.

When Do Teams Play The Many Different Schemes In The Playoffs?

It is important to keep in mind that during the playoffs, teams will frequently tinker with their line combinations and switch up their defensive pairings. This is quite common and is especially prevalent in the first round. In the second round, teams tend to play the same lines and keep the same pairings from the previous round. This is to maximize the home ice advantage in the second round.

Why Are Shootouts Needed In The Playoffs?

Let’s dive back into the concept of the home ice advantage. If you’re at a game, you’ll see at least two teams battling for home-court advantage. With an ever-shifting line-up and a constantly evolving tactical plan, this is where coaches can try and take the edge off of their opponent. They might choose to pull their goalie and dare the other team to beat them. Or, if they’re ahead, use all of their forwards to ice the puck and dare the other team to stop them.

Unfortunately, this also means that if your team scores a goal during the five-minute overtime, they’ll automaticallywin the game and there’s no need for a shootout. It’s also quite possible that, if they’re ahead by a goal during regulation time, the other team will intentionally pull their goalie to force a shootout. This is obviously a trap and something that the coaches and players of both teams need to be aware of.

How Are Goals Scored In The Playoffs?

There is no set formula for how goals are scored in the playoffs, and this part can get quite tricky. Typically, goals are scored in a variety of ways. Some players like to use their arms to deflect the puck into the net. Others like to score by sneaking the puck past the goalie. Still others like to find a way to get the puck through the legs of the defensemen and into the net. Regardless of how they do it, goals are usually scored near the blue line toward the end of the ice. This is why you’ll often notice that the last 10-15 minutes of some games are more exciting than the first 10-15 minutes and make for some desperate attempts at padding the lead.

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