You also have to look at the possible 'reason for early termination' in the plan. If the plan is not able to be fully optimized and has a reason for early termination, it may have executed serially and in these cases you may get a better plan with the filter in the join. However, your problem lies in the fact that the optimizer isn't able to complete. Potential causes there are complex queries or auto updating statistics, to name a couple.
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