The NHL on NBC’s Kentucky Derby contingency plan

Game 3 of the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals was decided in the third overtime on Wednesday night after Marian Gaborik beat Braden Holtby at approximately 12:14 a.m. ET, almost five hours after the puck was dropped to begin the game.

The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday with post time set for 6:24 p.m. ET. NBC's pre-race coverage featuring mint juleps, ladies wearing crazy hats and "My Old Kentucky Home" is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET.

So what happens if Game 4 of the Rangers and Capitals series beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday goes into multiple overtimes?

Viewers will be able to catch the entire first overtime on NBC. A second overtime will air on NBC "depending upon timing and circumstances," according to the network. Once NBC switches to pre-race coverage, NBC Sports Network will carry the remainder of the game.

UPDATE: NBC has announced it will now have coverage through two overtimes on NBC, no matter what. If the game goes into a third overtime, it will switch to CNBC for the entire country, except for the New York and Washington markets, which will continue to have the game on NBC.

This is always a tricky situation for NBC ever since the infamous 2007 Eastern Conference final game between the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres was switched to Preakness Stakes pre-race coverage before overtime and viewers had to flip over to VERSUS (RIP) once they realized what had happened.

No decision has been made if the same will occur in two weeks on May 19 when NBC will begin its Preakness Stakes coverage beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. That weekend will feature the NHL conference finals, which typically has at least one afternoon game scheduled.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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