How Many Time Periods In Hockey? [Fact Checked!]

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Although the current NHL season has just begun, many teams have already made roster moves that impact their standings and fantasy hockey owners must adapt their lineups accordingly.

The first game of the 2019-20 season is only three weeks away and fantasy hockey owners should already be set on their lineups. However, there are several key questions surrounding the teams they play for that they need to find the answers to before opening day.

How Many Time Periods In Hockey?

The time periods in hockey are different from league to league and change frequently, even within the same league. The NHL season is typically made up of two separate but equal time periods: the “regular season” and the playoffs. The regular season is typically between 10 and 24 games, depending on the number of teams in the league and the number of rounds of “playoffs” (or “consecutive games” as they are sometimes called).

The playoffs begin once the regular season is over and continue for a number of weeks or months, depending on the number of teams in the league and whether you’re playing for a Conference or Division championship.

The format of the playoffs changes from year to year, but they always start with “seeding” where the teams with the best records in the regular season play the top-seeded teams in the first round, and then the winners of those rounds play in the second round, and so on. The goal is to win the Stanley Cup which is awarded to the team that wins the most games over the course of the season.

There are six time periods in the NHL:

1:00:00 – 1:59:59

This is simply referred to as the “First Period” and corresponds to the first 15 minutes of actual playing time in the NHL game. During this time, the clock is frozen and no goal or penalty shot can be called against the team that is “on the power play” (a team with the man advantage). After the First Period, the clock resumes normal time and the pace of the game changes as goals are scored and penalties are enforced. Depending on the number of rounds in the playoffs, additional time periods are sometimes added to the end of the game, but not all games are played to the full 60 minutes. However, during “penalty killers’” time, the time between goals is often cut in half, preventing “scorers’” from reaping the benefits of “penalty kills” and ensuring closer games.

2:00:00 – 2:59:59

This is simply referred to as the “Second Period” and corresponds to the second 15 minutes of actual playing time in the NHL game. During this time, the clock is frozen and no goal or penalty shot can be called against the team that is “on the power play” (a team with the man advantage). After the Second Period, the clock resumes normal time and the pace of the game changes as goals are scored and penalties are enforced. Depending on the number of rounds in the playoffs, additional time periods are sometimes added to the end of the game, but not all games are played to the full 60 minutes. However, during “penalty killers’” time, the time between goals is often cut in half, preventing “scorers’” from reaping the benefits of “penalty kills” and ensuring closer games.

3:00:00 – 3:59:59

This is simply referred to as the “Third Period” and corresponds to the third 15 minutes of actual playing time in the NHL game. During this time, the clock is frozen and no goal or penalty shot can be called against the team that is “on the power play” (a team with the man advantage). After the Third Period, the clock resumes normal time and the pace of the game changes as goals are scored and penalties are enforced. Depending on the number of rounds in the playoffs, additional time periods are sometimes added to the end of the game, but not all games are played to the full 60 minutes. However, during “penalty killers’” time, the time between goals is often cut in half, preventing “scorers’” from reaping the benefits of “penalty kills” and ensuring closer games.

4:00:00 – 4:59:59

This is simply referred to as the “Fourth Period” and corresponds to the fourth 15 minutes of actual playing time in the NHL game. During this time, the clock is frozen and no goal or penalty shot can be called against the team that is “on the power play” (a team with the man advantage). After the Fourth Period, the clock resumes normal time and the pace of the game changes as goals are scored and penalties are enforced. Depending on the number of rounds in the playoffs, additional time periods are sometimes added to the end of the game, but not all games are played to the full 60 minutes. However, during “penalty killers’” time, the time between goals is often cut in half, preventing “scorers’” from reaping the benefits of “penalty kills” and ensuring closer games.

5:00:00 – 5:59:59

This is simply referred to as the “Fifth Period” and corresponds to the final 15 minutes of actual playing time in the NHL game. During this time, the clock is frozen and no goal or penalty shot can be called against the team that is “on the power play” (a team with the man advantage). After the Fifth Period, the clock resumes normal time and the pace of the game changes as goals are scored and penalties are enforced. Depending on the number of rounds in the playoffs, additional time periods are sometimes added to the end of the game, but not all games are played to the full 60 minutes. However, during “penalty killers’” time, the time between goals is often cut in half, preventing “scorers’” from reaping the benefits of “penalty kills” and ensuring closer games.

6:00:00 – 6:59:59

This is simply referred to as the “Sixth Period” and corresponds to the last 15 minutes of actual playing time in the NHL game. During this time, the clock is frozen and no goal or penalty shot can be called against the team that is “on the power play” (a team with the man advantage). After the Sixth Period, the clock resumes normal time and the pace of the game changes as goals are scored and penalties are enforced. Depending on the number of rounds in the playoffs, additional time periods are sometimes added to the end of the game, but not all games are played to the full 60 minutes. However, during “penalty killers’” time, the time between goals is often cut in half, preventing “scorers’” from reaping the benefits of “penalty kills” and ensuring closer games.

The time periods change from year to year and can even change within the same league, so fantasy hockey owners should always check the format of the 2019-20 season before making any lineups.

More Than Two Rounds?

The NHL season is typically made up of two separate but equal time periods: the “regular season” and the playoffs. However, depending on the number of teams that make up the league and whether you’re playing for a Conference or Division championship, there could be more than two rounds of “playoffs” and additional time periods added to the end of the season.

There are five scenarios that affect how many rounds of the “playoffs” a team will see:

Scenario 1: If your team finishes with the best overall record, they will be crowned the “Champions” and play in the “Stanley Cup Finals” (the culmination of the season) against the “Stanley Cup Champion” from the previous season. If the previous season was also a five-game series, then this year’s playoffs will be a total of six games. However, if the previous season was a longer series (e.g. seven games), then the Finals will be seven games as well.

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