Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday in a battle for the top seed in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
Photo by @jclarknbcs (Twitter).
- The top seed in the Eastern Conference will be on the line when the Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon
- Both the Lightning and Flyers are undefeated so far in this year’s NHL playoffs, but Tampa Bay has defeated the Flyers in seven straight head-to-head clashes
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and storylines ahead of this crucial Eastern Conference round robin matchup at Scotiabank Arena
Top seeding in the Eastern Conference throughout the rest of the NHL playoffs will be on the line when the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in round robin action as -132 favorites in the Flyers vs Lightning odds.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Tampa Bay Lightning Odds
|Philadelphia Flyers||+115||+1.5 (-240)||O 6.0 (-104)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-132||-1.5 (+235)||U 6.0 (-118)|
*Odds taken on 08/07/2020. All odds include OT and shootout
Lightning, Flyers Unbeatable in Round Robin
Second-place finishers in their respective divisions during the abbreviated regular season, the Lightning and Flyers have been unbeatable so far in round robin action, with each club going undefeated in their first two outings and setting the stage for Saturday afternoon’s matchup at Scotiabank Arena.
Current NHL round-robin standings:
1. TBL, 4
2. PHI, 4
3. WSH, 1
4. BOS, 0
The final standings will be…
1. Winner of TBL vs. PHI
2. Loser of TBL vs. PHI
3. Winner of WSH vs. BOS
4. Loser of WSH vs. BOS
— Tucker Boynton (@Tucker_TnL) August 7, 2020
The Lightning needed a shootout to claim a narrow 3-2 victory over the Metropolitan Division champion Washington Capitals, and escaped with a 3-2 victory over the Atlantic Division rival Boston Bruins on Wednesday, sealing the win on the strength of a Tyler Johnson goal with just 1:27 remaining in the third period.
With Stamkos Out, Vasilevskiy Answering Call
The Tampa Bay offense has felt the absence of team captain Steven Stamkos, who has yet to see action in the round robin after suffering a lower body injury during voluntary workouts prior to the start of training camp. In Stamkos’ absence, the Lightning have received offensive production by committee, with five different players tallying the team’s five total goals prior to the shootout.
Cooper: Stamkos out indefinitely, but ‘injuries are unpredictable’ https://t.co/Zs2KSwpiib pic.twitter.com/iNvZfMCVJr
— Random Hockey Bear (@thehockeybear) August 7, 2020
With the NHL’s highest scoring offense during the regular season producing sporadically so far in the restart, a heavier burden has fallen on Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Vezina Trophy finalist has answered the call, stopping 56 of the 60 shots he has faced, including a stellar performance in the third period of Wednesday’s clash with Boston that gave his teammates a chance to win it late.
Vasilevskiy’s steady play has also helped the Lightning turn the page on their epic failure in last season’s playoffs, when they were swept in the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 26-year-old was among several Lightning players who subsequently got off to a slow start this season. But Vasilevskiy has been outstanding in the Bolts crease since Christmas, racking up a 24-6-1 record in his past 31 starts, and has owned the Flyers in recent meetings, leading Tampa Bay to victory in five of the team’s seven straight wins over Philadelphia.
Flyers vs Lightning Head-to-Head Stats
|2nd in Metropolitan Division (89 points)||NHL Standings||2nd in Atlantic Division (92 points)|
|3.36||Regular season goals per game||3.50|
|2.84||Regular season goals against per game||2.79|
|2-5-3||Head-to-head record in past 10 meetings||8-2-0|
Flyers Eager to End Losing Streak vs Bolts
The Flyers are intent on rewriting the lengthy losing narrative to Tampa as they enter as +115 underdogs. Philadelphia’s recent struggles against the Lightning, include a pair of losses earlier this season, are one of the few blemishes on what has otherwise been a spectacular campaign.
Home stats of the #Flyers this year. They were Flat-out dominant at home:
25-6-4 home record
Voracek- 6g,27a 33p
Coots- 13g,20a 33p
TK- 13g,19a 32p
G- 10g,15a 25p
Hart- 20-3-2 1.63 GAA, .943 SV%
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) June 6, 2020
After finishing outside the playoff picture in four of the past seven years, the Flyers emerged as one of the surprise stories of the season. The club shook off a middling 10-7-4 start, and powered by the NHL’s best home record, looked destined to overtake Washington for the Metropolitan Division lead before the season was suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting Cast Generating Offense
The Flyers haven’t missed a beat since returning to action, quickly alleviating concerns about their ability to win without the benefit of home ice and fans, with a convincing 4-1 win over Boston last weekend, followed by a 3-1 win over the Capitals on Thursday.
Scott Laughton with another sweet goal against Boston pic.twitter.com/wszMyy0nN7
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 2, 2020
Indeed, it has been a whole team effort that has powered the Flyers to within a victory of clinching the top seed in the East. While none of the club’s big guns, namely Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, and James van Riemsdyk have yet to find the back of the net, members of the supporting cast have picked up the slack. Scott Laughton leads the club with three goals, while Kevin Hayes has racked up four assists.
That’s particularly good news for the Flyers considering the club will be without Voracek on Saturday for reasons on which head coach Alain Vigneault would not elaborate.
Hart The Hero
The real hero of the Flyers’ solid round robin performance has got to be goaltender Carter Hart. The 21-year-old has been spectacular so far in the round robin, stopping 61 of 64 shots, including a game-defining 34-save performance in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Boston.
With that win, Carter Hart becomes the youngest goalie in #Flyers history to ever win a postseason game!!! pic.twitter.com/brtLezs0ia
— Flyers Nation (@PHLFlyersNation) August 2, 2020
Now riding an 11-2-0 run into Saturday’s matchup, Hart faces the massive challenge of earning his first victory in four career dates against Tampa Bay. Hart had little offensive support from his teammates while taking the loss in two dates with the Lightning this season, including a 1-0 defeat back in January. But with Philadelphia finding ways to score, and the Lightning struggling to do the same, look for Hart and the Flyers to pull off the upset.
Picks: Philadelphia Flyers (+115); UNDER 6.0 (-118)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.