Here is a quick intro to hockey overtime rules. Throughout history, the hockey overtime rules in the NHL have changed a number of times, but as of the current 2009-2010 season the regular season hockey overtime rules have solidified to include four-on-four play for five minutes of sudden death, followed by a shootout. If a regular season game is tied at the end of regulation, all penalties and power plays carry over into the five minute sudden death period to follow. Here are the basics of the NHL's regular season hockey overtime rules broken down.
Overtime hockey rules from the Official NHL Rulebook state that the teams will skate four-on-four for a period of five minutes. These five minutes are sudden death, meaning that the first team to score wins and the game ends at that point.
If the game is still tied after the five minutes of overtime play at four-on-four, the hockey overtime rules state that the game will then proceed to a shootout, with skaters from each team going one-on-one with the goaltender of the opposing team.
The shootout goes for three rounds, with each team getting three chances to score. The home team chooses whether to shoot first or second. Teams may only use shooters once.
If the game is still tied after three shootout rounds, the hockey overtime rules state that the shootout moves to rounds of sudden death, with one shooter for each team. This continues until one team is victorious. Shooters, unlike in international hockey, cannot shoot more than once.
Keep in mind that the above rules are only for regular season NHL play. During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the hockey overtime rules provide for twenty minute sudden death overtime periods played five-on-five. If a game is tied at the end of regulation, there will be an intermission for the purpose of resurfacing the ice, followed by the sudden death overtime period. If it is still tied after the first overtime period, another intermission follows, and another overtime period as before. This continues until one team has scored. The instant one team scores, the game is over.
"National Hockey League Official Rules 2009-2010." Triumph Books, 2009.