Following the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL abandoned ties in favor of the shootout in an effort to liven up the game. In the NHL, a tie in regulation time might result in overtime to determine who scores first. After 5 minutes, the game is decided by a shootout, in which each team takes turns shooting at the opposite goalkeeper. The team that scores most goals wins.
In fact, there have been more than 100 games tied in regulation time since the shootout was introduced. Ties are even happening now, as we speak! There have been three ties in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs so far: Montreal vs. Tampa Bay, Chicago vs. St. Louis, and Vegas vs. San Jose. It's possible that these could be the most playoff games ever in the history of the sport!
Ties are pretty common in sports where one or both teams are very good at keeping things close. In ice hockey, there have been more than 100 games played since the start of the 2004-05 season where neither team scored during five minutes of play. That's more than twice as many games as the previous record holder, soccer's 1999-2000 season. Ties are also common in other sports where there is no penalty for losing games; examples include college football and basketball. There have been more than 30 games with no score during five minutes this season alone!
Of course, ties are bad for business; they don't lead to any victories.
No longer in the NHL. However, ties still exist at almost every level of hockey. While this move was not universally praised, it did result in more high-quality shootouts than ever before or since.
In Europe, ties are common in professional hockey. In the Russian Superleague, which is the highest level of ice hockey in Russia, ties are often resolved through a shoot out. In the Swedish Hockey League, which is the top league in Sweden, ties are usually resolved by holding a "mini-game" between the two teams involved. This involves five 5-minute periods with any sort of goal scorers winning a tie breaker if they are tied at the end of the period. The team that wins most of these mini-games advances to the next round.
In Switzerland, ties are usually resolved by holding a "mini-game". Three 5-minute periods with any sort of goal scorers winning a tie breaker if they are tied at the end of the period. In Germany, ties are usually resolved by holding a "mini-game".
2005-06 Instead of playing carefully to gain a point for a tie, teams would press for the additional point to win in overtime. The NHL removed tie games entirely in the 2005-06 season, when the shootout was implemented to settle all regular season games that were tied after the five-minute extra session.
Before the 2005-06 season, there had been discussions about removing ties but no action was taken until then. Ties were very common in the early years of the NHL because there were only six teams in the league who were regularly involved in tight contests. Between 1944 and 1953, there were seven ties played over those seasons. From 1954-55 to 1979-80, there were also seven ties played over that time frame. In 1980, there was only one tie game all season long. Since then, there have been only three other seasons without a single tie game before today's date: 2001-02, 2009-10, and 2010-11.
There were only two occasions this century where there were not one but two ties in a single season. First, in 2003-04 there were three straight days of play due to a labor dispute that canceled the rest of the season. Second, in 2004-05 there were also three days of play because of the striking referees. Both times, the playoffs were used as a tiebreaker between the two teams that were tied together.
A game cannot conclude in a tie at the NHL level of hockey. If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, the game will be decided by a shootout. The winner of the shoot-out will be awarded the point.
In lower-level leagues and in international competitions, games can end in a tie through two ways: either by using extra periods or by using a shootout to determine a winner. In both cases, this can only happen in regulation time; if the match goes into penalty shots, then there can be no tie.
The first game to be played under these circumstances was on January 25, 1998. The New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens were tied 3-3 after three periods in their playoff series when play was stopped for ice repairs. When play resumed about 20 minutes later, Montreal's Jean Beliveau scored the first goal of the shootout while playing against his former team.
Islanders' Mike Bossy would go on to win the series 4-1. This was also the first postseason game ever played with an extra period to resolve any potential ties.
The first regular season game to end in a tie was on March 15, 2003.