In the regular season, if the game is tied at the end of regulation time (the end of the third period), the teams almost immediately go into overtime, which is an extra 5 minutes of playing time. During these 5-minute overtimes, there are only five players on the ice. You will often hear this format referred to as "4-on-4" because although each team has five players on the ice, the goalie really doesn't skate much. Overtime in hockey is "sudden death" because if either team scores at any time, that team automatically wins and the overtime period ends. If neither team scores by the end of overtime, the game is declared a tie.

During the playoffs, if the game is tied at the end of regulation time, the game will go into overtime but the players get a 15-minute rest and the overtime period is 20 minutes long. These overtime periods are played with six players (or "5-on-5") and are identical to periods in regulation time except that they are "sudden death." The game will continue until one team scores and wins, so overtime playoff games can go into double overtime, triple overtime, etc. There are no ties in the playoffs.

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