The NHL's Board of Governors approved the proposed 3-on-3 overtime change on Wednesday, meaning that the league will officially make the change next year.
It won't work like it did in the American Hockey League last season, though, where they went to 4-on-4 before cutting down to 3-on-3 in a seven minute overtime period. Nope. It's just straight-up 3-on-3 for five minutes.
Here's exactly how it will work:
- BASICS: It's 3-on-3 play for five sudden-death minutes.
- PENALTIES & POWER PLAYS: If a penalty is taken in overtime, the teams play 4-on-3. (Essentially, the team on the power play just adds another player.) If a second penalty is taken, the teams will play 5-on-3. If a penalty carries over from regulation, the teams will play at 4-on-3.
- "At no time will a team have fewer than three skaters on the ice during the overtime period."
- IF TIED AFTER OVERTIME: If a goal isn't scored, the game moves to a three-round shootout. Apply the same shootout rules as in previous years.
- BE CAREFUL PULLING YOUR GOALIE: If you pull your goalie for an extra attacker in overtime, and the other team scores into your empty net, you'll forfeit the one point you gained by forcing overtime.
Below, you can read the exact language the league uses to explain the new OT rules.
1. Teams play an additional overtime period of not more than five (5) minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point.
2. The overtime period will be played with each team at 3-on-3 manpower (plus goaltender) for the full five-minute period.
3. Manpowers during overtime will be adjusted to reflect the situation in the game, but at no time will a team have fewer than three (3) skaters on the ice during the overtime period. For example, if a team enters the overtime period on a power play, manpower would be adjusted from 5 on 4 at the end of regulation to 4 on 3 at the start of overtime. If a minor penalty is assessed during overtime, the teams will play 4 on 3. If a second minor penalty is assessed to the same team during overtime, the teams will play 5 on 3.
4. If the game remains tied at the end of the five (5) minute overtime period, the teams will proceed to a three-round shootout. After each team has taken three shots, if the score remains tied, the shootout will proceed to a "sudden death" format.
5. Clubs who pull their goaltender for an extra attacker during the overtime period (other than on a delayed penalty) will be subject to the potential forfeiture of their one (1) point earned for the tie at the end of regulation in the event the opposing team scores into the empty net.
6. At the end of regulation, the entire ice surface will be shoveled and the goalies will change ends. There will be no further ice surface maintenance during the balance of overtime period. Following the overtime period and before the shootout, the ice surface will be shoveled again, and the goalies will change ends.