Do you like chaos?
Because on Friday afternoon the NHL announced an additional tiebreaking procedure for the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers that could add a bit of a madness to the end of the regular season.
With the Panthers and Flyers fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, it is possible that both teams could end the regular season tied in all of the major tiebreaking categories.
The NHL’s solution to this potential problem: An 83rd game for both teams.
A winner-take-all tie-breaker game that would determine who goes to the playoffs and who does not.
Here is all the relevant information from the NHL:
If at the conclusion of the regular season two teams competing for the final playoff berth in a conference are tied in points, ROW (regulation plus overtime wins), points in their season series (excluding the first home game for the team that has the extra game) and goal differential for the season, the following procedure will apply:
* A tiebreaking game will be played.
* An equally weighted draw will be conducted by the League – promptly upon the conclusion of the last game of the regular season on Sunday – to determine home-ice advantage for the game.
* Should the score of that game be tied at the end of regulation, overtime will be conducted under the rules that are in effect for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (i.e., five-on-five skaters, sudden-death, 20-minute periods until a winner is determined).
* For the purposes of the 2017-18 season, the tiebreaking game would be played Tuesday, April 10.
So what has to happen for this game to take place?
First, the Philadelphia Flyers would have to lose to the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon in regulation by exactly two goals. No more. No less. Two goals.
The Panthers would then need to win their final two games of the regular season (Saturday night against Buffalo and Sunday against Boston) in a shootout.
This would leave both teams tied in all of the major tiebreaking categories (points, regulation/overtime wins, goal-differential, and head-to-head points with the odd home game eliminated) listed above.
Is all of that likely to happen? Not all. But the fact it is even on the table makes it something we should all be rooting for.
Unless, of course, you’re a fan of the Panthers or Flyers. Then it would probably be a nightmare.
This also seems like it could be the league’s way of testing the waters and preparing folks for the potential of future play-in games for the playoffs.