Can a hockey game end in a tie? Then what!

The pleasure and excitement of a game like a hockey ask for a winner and a loser at the end. What’s the use of a game that ends in a tie!!!! Being a hockey fan, it will be quite exhausting if you do not have to end up seeing your favorite teams win.

So, can hockey end in a tie? There is no such thing as a draw at the NHL level. If the score is level, there will be a 5-minute overtime period for scoring a goal. And if no goals are scored, the game goes to a shootout if it is still tied after regulation time. However, NCAA and recreational level games can result in a draw.

In this post, you will get to know about tie games in hockey and how it is dealt with.

What happens when an NHL game is tied at the end of regulation?

If the scoreboard at the end of regulation play is the same for both teams, the game continues in another form to determine the outcome and the statistics. Consequently, there will be an additional 5 minutes of overtime. After a regulation game ends in a draw, the game goes into overtime, which ends in a draw.


The overtime period in the NHL is 5 minutes longer than the regular game’s end time. It has a somewhat different set of rules compared to standard play. Teams are only allowed to have 3 players on the ice at a time during this time. Because there are fewer people on the ice, the game is more exciting because there is more room for scoring.



It is game over as soon as a goal is scored. The team that scores more puck points is deemed the winner. The remaining time will not be played if there is still time left in the 5-minute allotment. In hockey parlance, this is known as “sudden death.” For games that finish in a tie after regulation time, shootouts will be employed to determine the winning team.


No 5-minute overtime session is used during the playoffs; the extra periods are instead like the regular three-period game with intermissions. Regulation play periods have the same rules.

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How does the shootout work to end a tie?

Each team has 3 players confronting their goaltender from the center of the ice in a penalty shot situation. In a sudden-death shootout, each ensuing shooter is eliminated one by one until a winner is announced.

How does the shootout work to end a tie

This means the shootout winner will win 3-2. Suppose, the game is tied at 2-2 after overtime, there are two points for the winning team in overtime or a shootout and one point for the runner-up in overtime or a shootout.

What will happen if there is a tie at the end of the overtime during the playoffs?

Even though the NHL did not start using overtime in regular-season games until 1983, the league had been using it in playoff games for decades before that. The overtime regulations for playoff games are different from the regular games because both teams employ five players and a goaltender for this duration.

During playoffs, if the game is still tied at the end of regular play, the game will go into overtime. There will be an interval of fifteen minutes and an additional twenty-minute overtime period. This will be for the situation if the game is still tied after the extended game time.

If a team does not become a winner in overtime, the game will take off to a penalty shootout. Six overtime periods have been the most common number of overtime in this case. As a consequence, most of the NHL’s feeder leagues adopted the NHL’s policy of not allowing ties in hockey games. In order to maintain parity with the National Hockey League, the following leagues have maintained the same strategy:

  • American Hockey League
  • Eastern Conference of the ECHL
  • Canadian Hockey League 

European leagues have also adopted a shootout in 3-on-3 over time, following the lead of the NHL.

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Has the NHL ever allowed ties in games?

Yes, the National Hockey League(NHL) allowed games to end in a draw at one point in its history. The National Hockey League, in reality, has welcomed connections for a great part of its history. Before the last year of adapting the shootout, 14% of overall hockey games ended in a tie.

Has the NHL ever allowed ties in games?

One extra period with almost the same group of players that is 5-on-5 would be used at the beginning of a game that ended in a draw after regulation. A 5-on-5 field would be used for this game. If the score stayed the same at the end of this overtime period, it would be reported as a tie.

How the NHL removed the tie from the games?

You may be curious why the NHL decided to abolish ties and implement the no-tie system while previous games had ended in ties. Here is the reason:

Defensive Hockey

The term “defensive hockey” refers to a style of playing hockey that emphasizes defense rather than offense. As a result of this defensive posture, the sport of hockey began to lose its luster. Consequently, the ‘dead puck age’ continued from the 1990s till the early 2000s. 

Even when the score was 0 – 0, the contest would come to a close. An upside to the 2004-05 NHL lockout was the creation of a committee to look into ways to improve goal-scoring in the league as a whole.

Some suggested eliminating ties in games and introducing a shootout so that any game would have a champion and at least one goal scored in it. From the 2005-06 season forward, all NHL games have a winner and a loser to determine their outcome.

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Best Overtime Goals

Frequently Asked Questions

Hockey has how much overtime?

Hockey has a 15-minute overtime period. Sudden death remains in effect so that the team that gets a goal first is victorious. Second overtime will be crucially given if no goals are scored by the teams in the first overtime period.

What is sudden death in the sport of ice hockey?

A sudden death round in hockey means, the format used in the second overtime where the team who scores a goal first, will be considered the winner. As soon as one player gains an advantage over the others, the game is over, and that player is declared the winner by the term “sudden death” (sometimes spelled “sudden death round” or “sudden death”).

Is a goal scored in a shootout counted?

There are no wagers to be made when the player does not show up on the ice at all. For settlement purposes, only goals scored in overtime are taken into a statement. Shootout goals aren’t taken into consideration.

Is Olympic hockey tied?

When two teams are deadlocked after 60 minutes of regulation, it is not as simple as the team with the next goal getting the win. It all depends on the tournament stage in which the games are being held. There are no ties, and that is the one thing that remains constant.

Conclusion: Can a hockey game end in a tie?

While there are still ties in amateur games, the NHL has declared that ties are no longer allowed and will not be reinstated. What is the reason for getting them back if you do not need them? Isn’t it exciting to know that a game has a champion and to predict the game’s outcome today? 

It demonstrates that there will be no more professionalism if the hockey games end in a tie shortly. Just to be clear, in the NHL, if a game is tied at the end of regulation time, it goes to overtime or a shootout to have a winner.

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