Should the Flyers and Panthers finish the regular season tied in points, wins, points in their season series and season goal differential, the teams will play one final game to advance to the playoffs: A play-in game for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The two teams are now tied in terms of ROW, which is the primary method for breaking a tie and it’s possible that they will also end up tied in terms of goal differential.
And should that game happen, there would (thankfully) be no shootout.
The NHL announced an additional tiebreaking procedure Friday to decide a final playoff berth in the event two teams are so close they’re still even after the four existing tiebreakers.
To meet the requirements to reach this tiebreaker game, Philadelphia needs to lose its final game of the season against the New York Rangers by two goals.
In that case, Philadelphia and Florida would each have 39 regulation/overtime wins and a plus-1 goal differential over the season. Philly hosts the lowly Rangers on Saturday, while the Flyers must defeat the Buffalo Sabres at home then take down the Boston Bruins on the road this Sunday.
Further complicating matters, both teams split the season series, “after eliminating the odd home game between them”, the league said.
So who would move on to the playoffs if this scenario plays out? The possibility of this tiebreaker game will likely spawn additional tiebreakers for next season to avoid a crapshoot like this from happening again, but if this game does happens and it turns out to be a resounding success, perhaps the National Hockey League could adopt a play-in game format like MLB in the future.
Both the Panthers and Flyers overcame rough starts and have surged in the second half of the season.