ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The NHL has made an adjustment to its Winter Classic to equalize any advantage weather might provide during the outdoor game on New Year's Day.
The league decided Saturday that the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins will switch ends midway through the third period. If the game should go into overtime, the teams will switch ends again at the 2 1/2-minute mark.
Stiff winds earlier this week delayed the transformation of Ralph Wilson Stadium into a hockey rink, and the NHL doesn't want them to play a significant role in Tuesday's game.
``Because we're outside and not inside in a controlled atmosphere, we want to make sure both teams have the same opportunities,'' Don Renzulli, the league's senior vice president of events and entertainment, said at the stadium Saturday afternoon.
If the game goes to a shootout, the goalies will choose which net they want to defend, creating a situation in which both teams could end up shooting at the same goal.
The changes were formulated by commissioner Gary Bettman, the league hockey operations, and both the Sabres and Penguins.
The wind usually blows from the west and then swirls inside the stadium bowl. Last Sunday, gusts peaking at 50 mph wreaked havoc with the initial phase of installing the rink on the football field, but the league has since made up for the lost time. The ice-making process is nearing completion, and crews were painting the lines, circles and logos on the white sheet on Saturday.
The teams, also playing Saturday night in Pittsburgh, are scheduled to practice in the stadium on Monday.

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Red-hot Florida faces off with Los Angeles Buoyed by the return of two key forwards, the Panthers have reeled off three consecutive victories. Can Los Angeles put an end to...
Thumbnail Two scorching squads meet on Long Island In recent weeks, the Rangers have cemented their reputation as the NHL’s most formidable road team. But can Alain Vigneault’s crew fend off a suitably...
Thumbnail Detroit enters dicey matchup vs. St. Louis The Blues are familiar with facing peril in 2016-17. Fortunately, they’re nowhere close to Detroit’s dire straits.
Thumbnail Rangers vs. Blue Jackets Prediction Will tonight's Rangers and Blue Jackets matchup be high-scoring for bettors when the two teams clash at 7:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Stars vs. Predators Prediction Will the over cash this evening when the Predators host the Stars at 6:00PM ET?

NHL Team Pages