Flyers coach John Tortorella not ruling out pulling goalie early

Flyers' John Tortorella says he and the team will do whatever it takes to win their game 82 vs. the Capitals in regulation, even if that means pulling the goalie if tied late, also praises his players for how they've handled all this adversity.

Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella said he will do whatever it takes to win the team’s last game of the season in regulation — even if that means pulling the goalie if tied late.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday ahead of the Flyers’ big game against the Washington Capitals, Tortorella didn’t dismiss the idea that he would pull the goalie for the extra attacker.

“I’m going to read the game and we’ll go from there,” Tortorella said. “I’m not going to get a slide-rule out here. We’re going to play the game, hopefully we’re ahead, but if we’re not and the circumstances dictate, we’ve got to try to win in regulation. So, we’ll make the call as the game goes on.”

A number of things have to fall into place for the Flyers to earn the last wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Their chance of making it, however, are increased if they win in regulation. Out of their control is if the Detroit Red Wings get at least one point against the Montreal Canadiens, which eliminates the Flyers no matter how they fare.

Many considered this to be a rebuilding year for the Flyers — a term Tortorella himself repeated on Tuesday — but the team has scratched and clawed its way into the playoff race despite a flurry of injuries, a surprise benching of recently named captain Sean Couturier and the departure of No. 1 goalie Carter Hart because of the 2018 Hockey Canada investigation.

Heading into Tuesday’s big game against the Capitals — which can be seen on Sportsnet+, starting at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT — the Flyers are 38-32-11, two points back of Washington for the final wild-card berth.

“I’m proud of the team,” Tortorella said. “That was my message prior to the Ranger game was, ‘Let’s just be proud of ourselves and get this to Tuesday, and see where we go.’ I’m proud of the team, how they’ve handled themselves; even through some of the bumps we’ve had at the end of the year, they’ve stayed together, they’ve tried to figure it out. Now, they get to play Game 82 that means something.”

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