Imagine a one-game playoff at the end of the National Hockey League regular season to determine which team qualifies for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and which one goes home early.
The NHL announced Friday that there is indeed one scenario that, while improbable, could result in the Flyers and Panthers playing a tiebreaker game - essentially a playoff game to make the playoffs - on Tuesday. Since Philadelphia and Florida played three times this season, the first game at the site where they played twice is not counted.
If the two teams are still all square after all of that, the league will create a one-game tiebreaker.
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If those scenarios play out exactly, Philadelphia and Florida would each have 94 points, 39 ROW and a +1 goal differential on the season.
If they won both of their final games - Saturday at home against Buffalo and Sunday on the road against Boston - and the Philadelphia Flyers to lost in regulation Saturday against the New York Rangers, it should be enough to advance Florida to the playoffs in nearly every case.
The additional tiebreaker, if necessary, would involve a tiebreaking game.
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Should the tiebreaking game remain knotted at the end of regulation, the teams would play overtime under playoff rules: 5-on-5, sudden-death in 20-minute periods until a team scores. The Flyers finish their season with a 3 p.m. game Saturday against the Rangers, while the Panthers host Buffalo on Saturday and travel to Boston on Sunday.
First, the Flyers must lose to the Rangers by exactly two goals (in regulation, obviously).
Then, the Panthers would have to win both of their last two games. This would bring their season goal differential to +1 and keep their points and ROW stuck where they are now. But that's not all: They would have to win both games in the shootout and in no other fashion. The extra time will be modeled after the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and both teams will play 5-on-5 hockey until a victor is determined.
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