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NHL says Flyers, Panthers could play tiebreaker game

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, right, is congratulated by teammates after they defeated the Boston Bruins Thursday in Sunrise. [AP Photo/Lynne Sladky]
Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, right, is congratulated by teammates after they defeated the Boston Bruins Thursday in Sunrise. [AP Photo/Lynne Sladky]
Published Apr. 6, 2018

If the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers are even in points, regulation and overtime wins and goal differential at the end of the season, they'll play a one-game tiebreaker to determine who goes to the playoffs.

The NHL announced the unlikely but possible tiebreaker Friday as Philadelphia has one game and Florida two remaining. For the tiebreaker to happen Tuesday, the Flyers would need to lose their regular-season finale Saturday against the New York Rangers by exactly two goals and the Panthers would need to beat the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins in a shootout Saturday and Sunday.

In that case, Philadelphia and Florida would each have 39 regulation/overtime wins and a plus-1 goal differential over the season. The teams split their season series (which by rule eliminates the odd game between them to even out home ice) and the league does not have any further tiebreakers.

Philadelphia currently has 96 points to Florida's 92 and needs just a point against New York to clinch the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

This most recently happened in 2000 when the NHL announced Montreal and Buffalo would play a tiebreaking game if they finished the season tied for the final spot in the East. It did not come down to that, but it's the precedent the league used to make this decision.