What Is Sudden-Death Format In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Sudden Death

Sudden death is a term used in hockey to describe the format used in overtime, where the first goal scored will end the game.

NHL Sudden Death Overtime

If the teams are tied up at the end of a regular-season game, the game will go into overtime. Each side will put out three players and one goaltender on the ice for a five-minute overtime period. Since fewer people are on the ice, it is easier to score during this time. If one team scores, the game is over, and whoever scored wins.

If neither team scores, there will be a shootout during the regular season. Three players will go one-on-one against the opposing team’s goaltender. Whichever team scores the most goals wins. If they tie again in the shootout, there will be a sudden death shootout where the winner will be the first team to have a player score when the opposing team can’t.


How does overtime work during hockey’s playoff season?

For the regular season, overtime works as explained above. However, during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, overtime is a little different. Instead of having a five-minute overtime period, the overtime periods are 20 minutes. Both teams have five players that go head-to-head, and the first team to score wins. There is no shootout if neither team scores, and instead, they keep playing 20 minute periods until one team scores. 

Do teams gain anything from going into overtime?

In the National Hockey League, each team will receive an extra point to benefit their league standings if they go into overtime. This is regardless of if they win or not, but the team that does win will get two points towards their league standings following the game.

What sports have sudden death overtime?

A lot of other popular sports have a similar sudden death format in their overtimes. American football uses the sudden death format so that the first team to score a touchdown wins the game, except in the playoffs. Golf also has a sudden death component. If two golfers are tied, they will play extra holes until a winner is decided. Other sports with some type of sudden death component are rugby, fencing, and wrestling

What has been the longest overtime in history?

The longest overtime in NHL history happened during the 1936 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons. The two teams were in the sixth period of overtime when Mud Bruneteau of the Detroit Red Wings finally scored. There were only 3.5 minutes left of the sixth overtime period. This means they almost played two extra full games in overtime. The Detroit Red Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.