Philadelphia Flyers vs Tampa Bay Lightning betting preview
The NHL odds have the Lightning installed as -135 favorites while the Flyers are +115 underdogs, and the Over/Under is set at 5.5. Both teams have won their first two round-robin games over the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals.
The Lightning are coming off a regular season where they went 43-21-6 for the second-best record in the East, while also posting the second-best goal differential in the league. The Flyers went into the COVID shutdown with a 41-21-7 record, a huge improvement from their previous campaign where they missed the playoffs.
The 21-year-old Hart had a terrific season for Philadelphia, finishing eighth in the league in goals against average and firmly entrenching himself as the team's No. 1 netminder ahead of veteran Brian Elliott. Hart also came up big in the Flyers first game of the postseason, turning aside 34 of 35 shots against the Boston Bruins in a 4-1 victory.
It's no surprise that Vasilevskiy is the man between the pipes for Tampa Bay. The 2019 Vezina Trophy winner was named a finalist this year as well, after another strong season for the Bolts. The Russian also looked sharp in both round-robin games, stopping 56 of 60 shots against the Bruins and Capitals.
Betting Trend to Know
Flyers are 7-1 in their last eight games against teams with a winning record. Find more NHL betting trends for Flyers vs. Lightning.
Flyers forward Kevin Hayes might not have found the back of the net so far in the postseason, but he's still been one of their best skaters. Centering Philadelphia's second line between Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton, Hayes has totalled four assists and registered six shots on net against the Bruins and Caps.
After agreeing to a seven-year, $50 million contract with Philadelphia in the offseason, expectations were high for Hayes and he finished second on the club with 23 goals. Currently logging big minutes and playing on Philly's most productive line should give him plenty of opportunities to score a goal at +290.
PREDICTION: Kevin Hayes anytime goal +290
While the Flyers and Lightning have plenty of scoring punch in their lineup, there is plenty of reason to lean towards the Under on Saturday.
Vasilevskiy and Hart have been outstanding between the pipes, both during the regular season and the seeding games. And the defenses in front of them are stout, with Tampa Bay allowing the fifth-fewest high-danger chances in the league during the regular season and Philly allowing the seventh-fewest. The Flyers also limited the high-flying Capitals to just 17 shots on Thursday.
The Under is 5-0 in Philadelphia's last five games and has also gone 5-2 in Tampa Bay's previous seven contests. With both sides also missing key offensive playmakers in Steven Stamkos and Jakub Voracek, the Under looks like the play.
PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (+100)
Philadelphia went into the COVID break on a tear, winning nine of their final 10 regular-season games. And the four months off hasn't slowed down their momentum, as the Flyers have beaten the Bruins and Capitals by a combined total of 7-2 since the restart.
While the Lightning also defeated the Bruins and Caps, they didn't do it in quite as impressive fashion, with their game-winning goal against Boston coming with less than two minutes remaining on the clock, and needing a shootout to defeat Washington.
Motivation could also play a role in this game. With home-ice advantage basically irrelevant in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs, the only real benefit to claiming the No. 1 seed is (in theory) easier matchups throughout the postseason. But Tampa Bay knows that things don't often work out that way after being swept in the first round by a No. 8 seed just a year ago.
The Flyers might be especially hungry for that top seed, while the Bolts might not place as much emphasis on it. With the Flyers in current red-hot form, there's certainly value in taking them at +115.
PREDICTION: Flyers +115
Flyers vs Lightning betting card
- Kevin Hayes anytime goal (+290)
- Under 5.5 (+100)
- Moneyline Flyers (+115)
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