The dates and location haven’t been set, but the Flyers know their opponents will be Boston, Tampa Bay, and Washington when the NHL season resumes and they play in a three-game, round-robin tournament.
Each were the Eastern Conference’s top four teams in the regular season, and this tournament, expected to be held in early August, will be for seeding purposes only. The games will be played with the overtime and shootout rules used in the regular season.
Based on the tournament’s results – and not the regular season – the teams will be seeded Nos. 1 through 4 and will top an eight-team Eastern Conference field.
Never mind that the Flyers (89 points) finished 11 points behind Boston (100) in the regular season. If they win the round-robin, they would be the top seed – and potentially have an easier matchup in the first playoff round. (With games being played at neutral sites, however, no one will have a home-ice advantage.)
If two teams are tied in points after the round-robin tourney is completed, the winner will be declared by their points percentage during the regular season.
Boston had the best points percentage at .714, followed by the Lightning (.657), Capitals (.652), and Flyers (.645).
The Flyers, however, had the best record (5-3-1) among these four teams in head-to-head, regular-season matchups against each other. In those matchups, the Flyers had a .611 points percentage, followed by Washington (.600), Tampa (.563), and Boston (.500).
Here is how the Flyers (41-21-7) fared against the three teams:
Record vs. Bruins this season: 2-1.
Scores vs. Bruins this season: 3-2 win (SO) in Boston; 6-5 win (SO); 2-0 loss.
Game highlights: In the 3-2 win, Phil Myers became the first Flyers defenseman since Mark Howe in 1987 to score goals in three straight games. … The Flyers overcame a 5-2 deficit in their 6-5 shootout victory, and Travis Konecny netted the winner. … Tuukka Rask, playing on his 33rd birthday, made 36 saves and outdueled Carter Hart in Boston’s 2-0 win on March 10, the last game either team played. The loss ended the Flyers’ nine-game winning streak
Bruins’ top players in series: Brad Marchand, David Krejci (two goals), and Charlie Coyle each had three points for the Bruins, and defenseman Charlie McAvoy was plus-4. Rask was flawless in his lone game against Philadelphia.
Flyers’ top players in series: Sean Couturier had five points (goal, four assists) and won 55.5% of his faceoffs; Travis Sanheim had two goals, and Konecny had three points.
Miscellany: Claude Giroux had no points and was minus-4, but he won 63% of his faceoffs in the three-game series. … Ivan Provorov had a team-high 12 shots. … Boston’s high-scoring David Pastrnak had 13 shots but just one goal.
Record vs. Lightning this season: 0-2.
Scores vs. Lightning this season: 1-0 loss; 5-3 loss in Tampa.
Game highlights: Hart made 27 saves, but Tampa won the team’s first meeting as Andrei Vasilevskiy (23 saves) collected the shutout and a second-period goal by former Flyers farmhand Pat Maroon was the difference. It was Game 45 for the Flyers, and first time they were blanked this season. In the rematch, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman each had two points for Tampa, which iced the win with an empty-net goal.
Lightning’s top players in series: Kucherov, Stamkos, Maroon, and Hedman each had two points for the Lightning, who got strong performances from Vasilevskiy (2-0, 1.50 GAA, .946 save percentage) against the Flyers.
Flyers’ top players in series: Provorov (minus-4) and Giroux each had two points in the series.
Miscellany: The Flyers did not have a “plus” player in the series. … Tampa won both games despite going a combined 0-for-9 on the power play; the Flyers were 2-for-8. ... Hedman was plus-3 and averaged 28:38 of ice time per game.
Record vs. Capitals this season: (3-0-1).
Scores vs. Capitals this season: 2-1 shootout loss; 3-2 win; 7-2 win in Washington; 5-2 win in Washington.
Game highlights: Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Caps their only win with a shootout goal. … Hart made 25 saves and Kevin Hayes deposited the decisive goal, shorthanded, in the Flyers’ 3-2 victory. … In the 7-2 Flyers win, Giroux (three points) ended a 13-game goal-less drought and Couturier also had three points, helping hand the Caps their worst loss of the season. … Hayes and Provorov each had a goal and an assist in the 5-2 victory.
Capitals’ top players in the series: Most of the Caps’ big guns struggled in the series (see below), but T.J. Oshie managed a goal and an assist and netted the team’s lone power-play goal.
Flyers’ top players in the series: Giroux had five points, and Konecny (three goals), Couturier, and Jake Voracek each had four points. Hart had a 1.45 GAA and .953 save percentage in two games against Washington.
Miscellany: Alex Ovechkin, who finished tied with Pastrnak for the NHL lead with 48 goals, had no points, a minus-4 rating, and just 10 shots in the four games. … The Flyers’ penalty kill was 16-for-17 in the series. … Ovechkin, John Carlson (minus-5), Tom Wilson (minus-5), and Nicklas Backstrom (minus-5) were a combined minus-19. … The Flyers’ Matt Niskanen, a former Cap, was plus-4 in the series.