Teams will switch ends during halfway through third period of Winter Classic

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BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins will switch ends halfway through the third period of the NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day to ensure that each team spends an equal number of minutes attacking or defending each goal so any advantages or adversities created by weather conditions at Ralph Wilson Stadium will be nullified.

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

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 net. Once a goaltender has chosen the net he wants to defend, he must defend that goal for every round of the shootout.

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