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Philadelphia Flyers

Capitals’ Empty-Net Goal Has Ripple Effect in Eastern Conference Playoff Race

The Philadelphia Flyers choice to pull their goalie ironically didn’t impact their season, but ended the playoff hopes of two other teams.

In a dramatic sequence of events that took place as two NHL games were winding down on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers essentially sealed the fate of not just one, but three teams in a single play during Tuesday night’s matchup against the Washington Capitals.

With the game between the Capitals and Flyers deadlocked at 1-1, Flyers coach John Tortorella made a bold move by pulling goalie Samuel Ersson for an extra attacker, as Philadelphia desperately needed a regulation win to keep their playoff hopes alive. However, this decision ultimately backfired as T.J. Oshie capitalized on the empty net, clinching a 2-1 victory for the Capitals with exactly three minutes remaining. What Tortorella apparently didn’t know was that pulling the goaltender would have made no difference as the Red Wings had scored in their own game against the Montreal Canadiens to send it overtime.

John Tortorella TJ Oshie Capitals Flyers

With the Red Wings picking up a point, Tortorella’s Flyers were already eliminated from playoff contention. His decision to pull the goalie came shortly before the realization that the Flyers’ playoff hopes had already been dashed. following Detroit’s overtime goal in Montreal, which eliminated Philadelphia from contention.

When the Capitals scored, it also eliminated the Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Flyers’ Loss Set Up a Domino Effect With Playoff Implications

This result of the Flyers’ decision to pull the goalie had significant ripple effects across the league. The Capitals’ win secured their playoff berth, simultaneously eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins, bitter rivals for both teams vying for postseason contention. The surreal sequence was one Tortorella said he didn’t know was a possibility until after the empty-net goal was scored.

In a twist of fate, the Flyers’ attempt to salvage their playoff aspirations inadvertently spelled the end for the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The big decision Torts was making for the Flyers didn’t actually impact the Flyers’ fate at all. But, their pivotal decision to pull their goalie, ultimately altered the result for Pittsburgh and Detroit.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the Panthers’ victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, coupled with the Boston Bruins’ loss to the Ottawa Senators, set the stage for a Leafs-Bruins first-round matchup.

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