The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning changed ends at the first whistle after the 10:00 mark of the first period to accommodate an issue with the ice in the visitors goal crease at Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday.
The NHL said the decision was reached during a conversation between the on-ice officials and the coach and general manager of each team.
The teams switched again in the second and third periods.
Washington led 2-1 when the first switch was made after Mikhail Grabovski scored for the Capitals at 10:37.
It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.
— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness