Late in Wednesday’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals, Caps blueliner Tom Wilson was given a match penalty for a hit to the head of Ottawa’s Curtis Lazar. Ottawa’s Chris Neil went after Wilson, earning himself a trip to the box for roughing.

So the two teams skate 4-on-4 for two minutes, with the Senators getting a three-minute power play at the end, right?

Not exactly.

In the final five minutes of a game or in overtime, the penalty differential happens right away.

Rule 19.4 – Last Five Minutes and Overtime – During the last five (5) minutes of regulation time, or at any time in overtime, when a minor penalty (or double-minor penalty) is assessed to one player of Team A, and a major (or match) penalty is assessed to one player of Team B at the same stoppage of play, the three-minute (or one-minute) differential shall be served immediately as a major penalty. This is also applicable when coincidental penalties are negated, leaving the aforementioned examples.

In such instances, the team of the player receiving the major penalty must place the replacement player in the penalty bench prior to expiration of the penalty. In the case of a match penalty, the team must place the replacement player in the penalty bench immediately. The differential will be recorded on the penalty clock as a three (3) minute or a one (1) minute penalty (as applicable), and served in the same manner as a major penalty.

This rule shall be applied regardless as to the on-ice strength of the two teams at the time the above outlined penalties are assessed.

The Senators were able to score once with the man advantage, with Bobby Ryan cutting the Caps’ lead to one.  Ottawa continued on the power play, but were unable to find the back of the net for the game-tying goal. 

Referees for the game were Wes McCauley and Jon McIsaac, with linesmen Derek Amell and Bryan Pancich.  Amell left the game with 6:56 to play in the first period; he did not return to the game. McCauley, McIsaac, and Pancich worked a modified 3-man for the remainder of the game.