The battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs will be decided on Saturday when the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Philadelphia Flyers as -135 favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Tampa Bay assured itself of at least the No. 2 seed in the East with narrow round robin victories over the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins, and will be looking to tally an eighth straight victory over Philadelphia in Saturday’s matchup at Scotiabank Arena.
The Lightning earned their round robin wins by the narrowest of margins. The team needed a shootout to claim a 3-2 victory over Washington last weekend, and bagged the game-winner with fewer than 90 seconds remaining in a 3-2 win over Boston on Wednesday night. However, Tampa Bay has regularly filled the net during its recent domination of the Flyers, averaging five goals per game over its seven-straight wins.
But with team captain Steven Stamkos sidelined by a lower body injury, the Lightning have struggled to generate offence in the round robin, tallying just five total goals in regulation, scored by five different skaters.
Conversely, the Flyers have been getting contributions from across their lineup, a trend they will look to continue when they hit the ice on Saturday as +115 underdogs at online sports betting sites. With the team’s big guns struggling to produce, role players have stepped up to fill the offensive void. Scott Laughton leads the club with three goals, while Kevin Hayes has recorded four assists. And with the Flyers announcing that Jakub Voracek will be unavailable for Saturday’s contest, that secondary scoring takes on greater importance.
However, the absence of Stamkos and Voracek, combined with the stellar performances from goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy and Carter Hart, has had an impact on the betting total for Saturday’s contest, which is set at +100 to go under 5.5 goals.
Also on Saturday, the top seed in the Western Conference will be decided as the Colorado Avalanche battle the Vegas Golden Knights as slender -115 favourites. Like their Eastern Conference counterparts, Vegas and Colorado have been perfect so far in round robin play.
The Golden Knights have tallied 11 total goals in wins over Dallas and St. Louis, while the Avalanche got the job done with stingy defence, limiting the Stars and Blues to just one total goal in their two victories.
However, the Avalanche offence has fired on all cylinders while racking up four straight wins against Vegas, outscoring the Golden Knights by an overall margin of 20-12, adding value to the -110 odds of the total topping 5.5 goals in Saturday’s contest at Rogers Place.