The Tampa Bay Lightning are advancing to the first round of the NHL playoffs. The Lightning are set to play against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
The Lightning settled into the East’s second seed after losing 4-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night.
Rematch. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/hwuGjMmrbo
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) August 10, 2020
Losing Top Seed
The Philadelphia Flyers, who entered the round-robin as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, now sit on the number-one spot for playoffs. Saturday’s game also saw more Tampa Bay players go to the injury list.
Bolts’ defenseman Victor Hedman injured his right ankle in the first period. He did not return to the ice for the remainder of the night, and his comeback date is unknown. Hedman is a key player in the Lightning’s defense, and his absence paired with Steven Stamkos’ being out is something of concern. Stamkos has been unable to play since suffering a lower-body injury last month.
Flyers’ right winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel thinks the injuries might be why the Bolts were less aggressive.
“I thought they were a little more physical earlier this season. I don’t know if its because they’re missing some guys. We were one step ahead of them on that side of things,” Aube-Kubel said.
Tampa Bay’s loss of the top seed and star players on Saturday night has the potential to negatively impact Tuesday’s playoff matchup.
Tampa Bay looks to avenge last season starting Tuesday’s night when they play game one against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets swept the Lightning in the first round just last year. Columbus had never won a playoff series until defeating Tampa Bay last season.
During the regular season, the Bolts beat Philadephia 2-1 in early February but with their shortage of key players, the outcome could be different. Tampa Bay scored 243 goals and led the Eastern Conference at 3.5 goals averaged per game. In addition, the Lightning also has 49 power play goals while the Blue Jackets sit at 31.
— WATB Sports (@WATB_Sports) August 10, 2020