Unlike during the regular season, where a game may be settled in a shootout, overtime in the playoffs is played in several sudden-death, 20-minute five-on-five sessions until one side scores. The first team to score wins the game; if both teams remain tied after these additional 20 minutes, then the first team that earned more faceoffs wins.
The number of games in each series varies depending on how far it goes. If the series reaches the conference finals, then it will usually be seven games. If it gets that far, the series is considered to be sufficiently competitive to merit a full seven-game set. But if it gets down to the third round, the format requires that each series be decided in a best-of-five format rather than the usual best-of-seven.
In terms of time, each series takes about six hours to play. So, over the course of an entire weekend, all 10 first-round series could be finished. And if things stay as they are now, we'll see at least two nights when there are no games scheduled starting around 9:30 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday.
Overall, an average of four days are needed for a single series to be completed. So far, no series has gone longer than five games.
Extra periods in the Stanley Cup playoffs and all tiebreaker games are played like normal periods—teams are at full strength (five skaters, barring penalties), there is no shootout, and each overtime session is 20 minutes long with complete intermissions in between. If a game goes into a third overtime period, then each team will get one more chance to score before it becomes too dark outside for meaningful play.
In case you were wondering, the average length of an NHL playoff game is four hours and five minutes. The longest game in NHL history was six hours and 52 minutes. It took place on May 6, 2000 and was a best-of-seven series between the Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils. The game ended 1-1 after six overtimes and 7-7 after 12 rounds. The two teams met again in the seventh and deciding game which was won by the Avalanche 4-3.
The shortest game in NHL history was three hours and 42 minutes. It occurred on April 9, 2009 when the Ottawa Senators defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 in Game 5 of their first-round series. Both teams were still competing for a spot in the next round.
In conclusion, the NHL postseason is scheduled to be 20 minutes long starting with game three of every series until we reach game seven of the finals if necessary.
The length of a game in the NHL Playoffs. There is no shootout in the playoffs if a game is still tied at the end of an overtime session. The game continues to have 20-minute intervals until someone scores. Then the clock keeps ticking away for the remaining time left on the clock.
In fact, the longest game in NHL history was also played in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. It lasted 6 hours and 52 minutes - from 2:07 p.m. on June 10th until 9:19 p.m. on June 11th. That's almost three full days! The record was broken by a single second when Montreal's Max Pacioretty scored with 1 second left on the clock to give his team a 3-2 victory over Chicago in Game 6 of their series.
The shortest game in NHL history was played in 1917. It ended after only 15 minutes because of rain delays. No one scored during that short period of time so it was declared a tie game. The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Pirates were playing in that first-round series at the time and it was already clear that it would not be finished in just one game. In fact, it took four more games to finally decide the winner of that series.
Since then, there have been two other short games in the playoffs.
What exactly is a shootout in hockey? If the score is tied at the end of a hockey game, the game moves into an additional five-minute quarter, generally known as overtime. If the scores still are tied, two players from each team will face off in a shoot out to determine a winner.
The shootout was invented by Scotty Bowman, who was then the coach of the Montreal Canadiens. It became popular during the 1980s when the Habs had many talented shooters in players such as Yvon Labre, Claude Lemieux and Patrick Roy. Since then, several other teams have adopted the strategy of having multiple goal scorers on their rosters. These include the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks among others.
Generally speaking, the shootout lasts for three rounds. The first two rounds are shot-put style: One player from each team takes turns shooting at a puck that is frozen in front of them. The player who shoots first gets a chance to score a goal if they so choose. The player who doesn't shoot loses the round and must proceed to the next one. If the score is still tied after two rounds, we move on to the third and final round called the "breakout round". Here, the coaches will select two players from each team to compete in what is essentially a speed contest.
Regular season overtime periods in the ECHL, AHL, and Southern Professional Hockey League are played three-on-three for one five-minute session, with penalties resulting in the opponents skating one more player on the ice (up to two additional players) for each infraction. In the NHL, overtime is four minutes of 5-on-5 hockey.
If there is no winner after five minutes, then a shootout begins immediately following the five-minute period. The first player from each team shoots once, and if they are still tied after four rounds then sudden death shots are taken by alternate players from each team until someone scores. If the game goes to seven rounds there will be one final round where each player on the ice receives a chance to score a goal. This is called a "golden opportunity".
The winner of the game is determined by the last player left on the ice when the time runs out; if there is a tie at that point, a shootout ensues to determine a winner. The NHL began using shootouts during the 2004-05 season to resolve ties in overtime games. Prior to that year, there were only eight instances out of 1,603 regular season games where a shootout was required to determine a winner. The most recent instance occurred on April 3, 2005 when Edmonton Oilers rookie Taylor Hall scored just 37 seconds into overtime against the New Jersey Devils.