The NHL has designated 45 games on its preseason schedule as test cases for its 3-on-3 overtime period, meaning the new format will be played regardless of the score at the end of regulation.
The Sabres will play their tester games during their exhibition opener Monday in Minnesota, the home opener Wednesday against Ottawa and the Oct. 1 visit to Minnesota. If those games end with a winner in regulation, that will be deemed the final score of the game and there will be no shootout if there are no goals in the OT session.
If those games or any of Buffalo's other four preseason games are tied at the end of regulation, normal rules will apply. That means a shootout would be played if there are no goals scored in OT.
The league's release says the expanded use of 3-on-3 during this preseason will give players, coaches, management and on-ice officials a chance to test the new format in advance of the regular season.
The league went through a similar preseason experiment when the shootout was introduced in 2005, using them in exhibition play even if the actual rules didn't call for them in that particular game.