As it stands, the Flyers (41-26-14, 96 points) now hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, with the Florida Panthers (42-30-8, 92 points) the only team capable of grabbing it away from them.
On Friday afternoon, the National Hockey League announced that if the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers are deadlocked in a tie in points, regulation wins, goal differential and head-to-head points, the two teams would play a tiebreaker game for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
So if Philadelphia loses in regulation by exactly two goals to New York Rangers on Saturday, and Florida picks up back-to-back shootout wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins this weekend, the National Hockey League will hold its first-ever play-in game Tuesday. The two teams split the other two games, both in regulation.
It's a long shot, and the Flyers can clinch their spot with a single point Saturday against the Rangers before the Panthers even take to the ice against Buffalo. Since Philadelphia and Florida played three times this season, the first game at the site where they played twice is not counted. The Flyers won, 5-1, on October 17 in Philadelphia.
If those scenarios play out exactly, Philadelphia and Florida would each have 94 points, 39 ROW and a +1 goal differential on the season.
Then, the Panthers would have to win both of their last two games. The Panthers now are minus-1, but would rise to plus-1 with two shootout wins. This would bring their season goal differential to +1 and keep their points and ROW stuck where they are now. Playoff rules will also be in effect - meaning sudden-death, five-on-five overtime periods if the game is tied at the end of regulation. In the regular season, teams play 3-on-3 for five minutes before a shootout.
"We keep talking about taking care of our own business, but at some point in time, we definitely need a loss", Panthers coach Bob Boughner said after Thursday's game against Boston.