Flyers RR Gameday: 8/8/20 vs. TB
Gameday Preview: Flyers vs. Lightning
In the final game of a three-game round robin for playoff seeding, Alain Vigneault's Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-0 in the round-robin) will take on Jon Cooper's Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0) at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday. Game time is 8 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on NBC.
The winner of this game will earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and will play the Montreal Canadiens, who upset the Pittsburgh Penguins, three games to one, in the best-of-five qualification round. The second seed will play the winner of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets series.
The Flyers are the designated away team for this game. As such, the Lightning will have the last line change. The Flyers went 0-2-0 against Tampa Bay during the 2019-20 regular season.
The Flyers enter this game coming off a 4-1 win over Boston last Sunday and a 3-1 victory over Washington on Thursday. Carter Hart, who was in goal for the win over the Bruins, will get the start against the Lightning.
Flyers top-line right wing Jakub Voracek is unavailable for this game, per Vigneault. In his place, rookie Joel Farabee will move up from the third line to play alongside Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.
With Voracek unavailable, James van Riemsdyk will return to the Flyers lineup after he was a healthy scratch against Washington on Thursday. He will skate on the third line, along with Derek Grant and Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
On Thursday, with JVR on the scratch list, Connor Bunnaman made his NHL postseason debut and played left wing on Nate Thompson's line. Bunnaman skated 12:14 over 17 shifts, and was credited with one shot on goal. Tyler Pitlick will remain on the line's right wing spot.
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere will be in the Flyers lineup for the round-robin finale against Tampa Bay. He will be paired with Justin Braun on the third defense pair. Robert Hägg, who dressed in the Boston and Washington games, will be scratched.
One area that Vigneault would like to see the team improve before the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: the power play. The team went 0-for-2 on the man advantage against Boston (although they did come close to scoring on their first opportunity) and struggled significantly in going 0-for-6 in the victory over Washington.
The Bolts are coming off a 3-2 shootout win on Monday against Washington and a 3-2 win over Boston on Wednesday. Veteran Lightning star Steven Stamkos (lower-body injury) remains unavailable to the team. Even without him, the team still has a deep and fearsome attack. Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Killorn and Tyler Johnson all have a goal and assist apiece over the two games to date.
Tampa also has an elite goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Vezina Trophy finalist defeated the Flyers twice during the regular season, including a shutout in Tampa's 1-0 win at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 11.
Projected Lineups (subject to change)
28 Claude Giroux - 14 Sean Couturier - 49 Joel Farabee
21 Scott Laughton - 13 Kevin Hayes - 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk - 38 Derek Grant - 62 Nic Aube-Kubel
82 Connor Bunnaman - 44 Nate Thompson - 18 Tyler Pitlick
9 Ivan Provorov - 15 Matt Niskanen
6 Travis Sanheim - 5 Phil Myers
53 Shayne Gostisbehere - 61 Justin Braun
79 Carter Hart
[37 Brian Elliott]
18 Ondrej Palat - 21 Brayden Point - 86 Nikita Kucherov
17 Alex Killorn - 71 Anthony Cirelli - 9 Tyler Johnson
19 Barclay Goodrow - 37 Yanni Gourde - 20 Blake Coleman
67 Cedric Paquette - 13 Mitchell Stephens - 23 Carter Verhaeghe
77 Victor Hedman - 24 Zach Bogosian
27 Ryan McDonagh - 81 Erik Cernak
98 Mikhail Sergachev - 22 Kevin Shattenkirk
88 Andrei Vasilevskiy
[35 Curtis McElhinney]