Battle for First Seed: Flyers vs Lightning Preview
Going into this round-robin tournament, any scenario was a win-win for the Flyers. With a playoff spot already guaranteed, the Flyers could go nowhere but up, and up they went.
Picking up right where they left off, the Flyers started the round-robin playing some inspired hockey. After dismantling the Bruins 4-1 in the first game, the Flyers came right back and defeated the Capitals 3-1 the following game. With a 2-0 record in the tournament, the Flyers have clinched 2nd seed at minimum, and now have a chance to take first tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning (8pm on NBC).
Head to Head Matchups
- January 11: 1-0 Loss @ PHI
- February 15: 5-3 Loss @ TBL
Tampa has had our number this
year decade, plain and simple. In the first matchup in Philadelphia, the Lightning shut us out 1-0 in a frustrating game where it seemed like the Flyers couldn’t get their legs under them to create scoring chances. The second one didn’t go any better, with Carter Hart getting shelled for a 3 goal deficit before the Flyers could get going. The Flyers ended up pulling to within one in that game but fell just short, 5-3.
Giroux scores a good goal and the Flyers only need one more to tie it up. pic.twitter.com/9HYNY1Jsh0
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 15, 2020
The day of the COVID-19 stoppage, the Flyers were supposed to play the Lightning for the third and final time this season, but obviously that did not happen.
The Flyers lineup going into their latest practice was:
Giroux – Couturier – Farabee
Laughton – Hayes – Konecny
JVR – Grant – Aube-Kubel
Bunnaman – Thompson – Pitlick
Provorov – Niskanen
Sanheim – Myers
Gostisbehere – Braun
A few noticeable differences off the start, first one being JVR slotting back into the lineup. Van Riemsdyk was benched for the last game against the Capitals, and it seems Vigneault is giving him another chance to prove himself. Jakub Voracek has been deemed unfit to play for this game, leaving room for a lot of speculation and unfortunately we probably will not receive an update soon. The absence of Voracek has allowed Joel Farabee to get promoted to the first line, watching him with Giroux and Couturier will be enjoyable as we’ve seen him slot in there just fine throughout the year. The most intriguing difference to me though is the addition of Shayne Gostisbehere. Ghost has had a rough year and has spent most of it not in the lineup, but it appears he’s getting one last shot to prove he belongs in the lineup going into the playoffs.
The Lightning lineup is:
#TBLightning lines at practice today, per the team
Absent: Maroon, Rutta, Stamkos
— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) August 7, 2020
Steven Stamkos will not play in this game and that is extremely beneficial to the Flyers, hopefully they can take advantage of it.
All in all, this is an exciting time. Knowing that the Flyers have at least the second seed locked up lets us get a sneak peek at who their first round opponent might be. If the Lightning win, we play the winner of the Toronto/Columbus series. If we win, we play the Montreal Canadiens. Going into a series against any of those teams I’m extremely confident in the Flyers, and to be honest I’m just ready to get this whole thing going.
— TLY (@TheLibertyYell) August 6, 2020