Fri, 18 Sep 2020

Flyers handle Lightning to claim East's top seed

Field Level Media
09 Aug 2020, 13:05 GMT+10

Nicolas Aube-Kubel recorded his first career two-goal game as the Philadelphia Flyers finished round-robin play perfect and snared the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed Saturday night, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in Toronto.

The Flyers (3-0-0, six points) earned the conference's top spot and a best-of-seven first-round series date with the No. 12-seed Montreal Canadiens, who upset the No. 5-seed Pittsburgh Penguins in four games.

Rookie Joel Farabee recorded his first career playoff goal and assist, and Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Couturier each had two helpers. Carter Hart returned in goal and made 23 saves for the Flyers, who outscored the opposition 11-3 in the tourney.

The Lightning (2-1-0, four points) will play the winner of the Columbus Blue Jackets-Toronto Maple Leafs series, a wild matchup that featured Toronto staging a dramatic three-goal comeback in the final four minutes and winning in overtime Friday to force a deciding Game 5 Sunday night.

Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson scored a power-play goal, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots.

Victor Hedman fell awkwardly on a Philadelphia rush in the first period, appearing to tweak his right ankle, and headed to the dressing room. The Lightning defenseman smashed his stick against the grandstand railing in frustration after logging just 2:28 of ice time and was ruled out by the team.

Philadelphia top line forward Jakub Voracek was declared unfit to play, while Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (lower body) missed his third consecutive game.

Lightning sniper Nikita Kucherov hit the crossbar over Hart at the match's five-minute mark. Two minutes later, the Russian right winger stole a cross-ice pass from blueliner Matt Niskanen and skated in on a breakaway, only to be denied by Hart.

Aube-Kubel opened the scoring at 7:40 of the first in front of Vasilevskiy's cage, slipping inside Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and deflecting in a shot from the point by Gostisbehere.

After a Tampa Bay turnover in the neutral zone, Aube-Kubel whacked a slick dish from Couturier on a two-on-one in for his second goal with six minutes left in the period for a 2-0 lead. The Flyers outshot the Lightning 20-6 in the opening frame.

Johnson cut the lead in half at 5:21 of the second, snapping home his second tally of the tourney, but Farabee blistered a one-timer from the right circle off a Gostisbehere feed at 14:22 as Philadelphia regained its two-goal margin.

The Lightning pulled Vasilevskiy with two minutes remaining, but Tyler Pitlick scored an empty-net goal at 18:40 to seal the win.

--Field Level Media

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