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Eastern Conference Round Robin: Flyers @ Lightning — Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch

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Two teams battle for the top seed, and a matchup with the Montreal Canadiens in Round One.

NHL: FEB 15 Flyers at Lightning Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Eastern Conference Round Robin

Philadelphia Flyers @ Tampa Bay Lightning

How to watch

Start time: 8:00 PM EDT / 5:00 PM PDT
In Canada: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet 360 (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the US: NBC
Streaming: Sportsnet Now

The Montreal Canadiens did what few people expected in the qualifiers by knocking off the Pittsburgh Penguins, in four games no less, to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 24th-place team from the regular season is now one of the 16 finalists that will play for the NHL championship.

There is no big reward for pulling off the upset — as there shouldn’t be for the lowest-ranked team in the tournament. While Montreal was taking care of the Penguins, the top four sqauds from the Eastern Conference were playing each other to determine which club is the cream of the crop, and the Habs will face the one that takes that title.

That number-one seed in the east will be determined in a showdown between the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. Both have already dispatched the Washington Capitals and Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins, and whichever one prevails will be riding into the playoffs on a winning streak after sweeping through three of the top six teams in the NHL this year.

The story of the round robin so far has been the play of Scott Laughton and Kevin Hayes, both with four points as members of Philadelphia’s second line. It’s more a tale of woe for the Lightning, as Steven Stamkos is once more out of action with an injury, which hasn’t been an uncommon report in recent years. The club has learned how to play without its captain in the mix, and has amassed some depth to cope with his absence.

Steady goaltending, solid defence, and talented forward corps should be on offer from both teams tonight, and Canadiens fans will get a good indication of what they’re in store for in the Eastern Conference Quarter-finals.

Philadelphia Flyers projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Claude Giroux Sean Couturier Joel Farabee
Scott Laughton Kevin Hayes Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk Derek Grant Nicolas Aubé-Kubel
Connor Bunnaman Nate Thompson Tyler Pitlick

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Ivan Provorov Matt Niskanen
Philippe Myers Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere Justin Braun

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Carter Hart Brian Elliott

Tampa Bay Lightning projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Ondrej Palat Brayden Point Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn Anthony Cirelli Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow Yanni Gourde Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon Mitchell Stephens Cedric Paquette

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Victor Hedman Zach Bogosian
Ryan McDonagh Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev Kevin Shattenkirk

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Andrei Vasilevskiy Curtis McElhinney