Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Close Call of the Week: NHL Overtime Penalty Strength

Last night, a CCS follower asked a question about NHL overtime rules, specifically how on-ice strength is determined during the extra 4x4 period when one or both teams suffers two or more concurrent or subsequent penalties, as was the case during Tuesday's Kings-Ducks freeway rivalry game, decided in a shootout.

The Play: With just 29 seconds remaining in regulation of a 2-2 game, Kings RW Justin Williams received a two-minute minor for slashing against Corey Perry, giving Anaheim a power play to end the third period. The score still tied, the teams headed to overtime and four-on-four skating, only with the Kings down to three due to the wraparound Williams penalty. 27 seconds into the five-minute overtime period, Perry drew another penalty, a slash by Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, who joined Williams in LA's penalty box.

Question: Is Anaheim allowed to skate with five during the overtime two-man advantage?
NHL's Table 20 - Rule 84 - Overtime Penalties

Short Answer: Yes, Anaheim is awarded a fifth skater because Los Angeles is obliged to add one skater to bring its on-ice strength up to three. (LAK 2 + 1 = 3 / ANA 4 + 1 = 5)

Explanation and References: According to NHL Rule 84 regarding overtime and Table 20 regarding overtime penalty assessment, once a team receives a second minor penalty, each team must add one player to their on-ice strength. For Los Angeles, adding one player effectively increases on-ice strength from two to three while for Anaheim, this increases on-ice strength from four-to-five. The reason for this is that no team shall skate with an on-ice strength of less than three skaters.

Bonus: Playing five-on-three, the Ducks received a minor penalty at 1:24 due to Dustin Penner's interference against Jarret Stoll, creating a four-on-three situation. When LAK Williams' penalty expired at 1:31 and he exited the penalty box, the teams skated four-on-four even though each team had one player serving a penalty. The rules state play shall continue four-on-four, but at the next stoppage of play (prior to the expiration of either penalty), the strength shall be adjusted to three-on-three, the standard procedure for coincidental minor penalties during overtime. In this situation, the Kings skated four-on-three when Mitchell's penalty expired at 2:27 while both teams returned to full strength (4x4 for OT) when Penner's penalty expired at 3:24.


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