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How the NHL Shootout Works

2005-06 marks the beginning of the NHL shootout era.


As of the 2005-06 season, the NHL has adopted the shootout to settle ties in regular season games. The shootout is used if the game remains tied after five minutes of overtime.

  • Each team names three shooters. If the game remains tied after the three shooters are done, teams continue shooting in "sudden death" mode. The game cannot end until each team has taken the same number of shots.

  • With the adoption of the shootout, ties are eliminated from the NHL standings. A team is awarded two points for a win (listed as "W"), zero points for a regulation loss ("L") and one point for a game lost in overtime or a shootout ("OT" or "OTL").

  • The shootout does not count towards individual statistics. A shootout goal is not added to a player's total goals or total points. A shootout goal allowed is not included in the goaltender's goals against, goals-against average, or save percentage. The shootout has no bearing on plus-minus or other "in game" statistics.

  • If a game is tied 0-0 at the end of overtime, both goaltenders are credited with a shutout, regardless of which team wins the shootout or how many shootout goals are scored.

  • Individual shootout statistics are calculated as a separate category in the official NHL statistics.

  • The winning team in the shootout gets one goal added to its season total. The losing team has one goal-against added to its season total. This holds regardless of how many goals are scored during the shootout itself.

  • The shootout is preceeded by a two-minute break, during which the ice-clearing machine cuts a fresh lane from centre ice to each net.

  • The shootout is not be used in Stanley Cup playoff games. The format of playoff games remains unchanged.

    Previous Page: The Shootout Debate

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