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Winter Classic third period will be two 10-minute periods

Saturday, 12.29.2007 / 2:41 PM / 2008 NHL Winter Classic

By Phil Coffey - NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

BUFFALO -- To nullify any advantages or adversities created by weather conditions at Ralph Wilson Stadium during Tuesday’s AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio), the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins will switch ends halfway through the third period – ensuring each team would spend the equivalent number of minutes attacking or defending each goal, the National Hockey League announced Saturday.

If necessary, a five-minute overtime period also would be divided in half, with the teams switching ends after 2:30 of play.

Should a shootout be needed, each goaltender would be given the option of determining which goal to defend. Thus it is possible that both teams would shoot at the same goal. Once a goaltender has chosen the goal he wants to defend, he must defend that goal for every round of the shootout.

The League also announced that length of intermissions between – and timeouts during – periods may be subject to modification depending on weather and ice conditions, as may be determined by the Game Officials and/or Commissioner Gary Bettman, in consultation with representatives of the National Hockey League Players’ Association.

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