What are the overtime rules for hockey playoffs

NHL playoff format

The NHL regular season overtime format has seen some changes over the years. The first season of sudden death overtime was 1983-84. The whole purpose of including them was that people just didn't like that many games that ended in draws. Along with changes to the way teams score points in the overall standings, experiments have been conducted to add shootouts and decrease the number of players on the ice in overtime (so it's now 3v3).

In this way, the NHL has eliminated ties, added a little extra excitement / drama to the end of the games, and sped up the games to some extent.

Unlike perhaps tradition, the reason that postseason games have a different format is that the regular season format is (for lack of a better word) playful - just to get a quick, exciting result for the game. In the playoffs, more emphasis is placed on teams with all their players playing at full speed in a normal environment. In other words, they continue to play the way hockey should be played and how it turns out that you really are the better all-round team. Even an extended playoff game that might reach two or more hours of overtime can be pretty exciting for the audience as the stakes are high and everything can be determined at any time - but we really have no idea when. Compare that to a regular season game, which is much less important. If it had the playoff overtime format, the average observer might at some point stop caring about it - it drags on and the experience wouldn't be that unique.