Flyers win secures No. 1 spot for playoffs

Carter Hart celebrates with captain Claude Giroux

Carter Hart celebrates with captain Claude Giroux after the Flyers defeated the Lightning to secure a No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

This story originally appeared on NBC10.

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The Philadelphia Flyers are headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, after winning all three of their round-robin games in Toronto.

Nicolas Aubé-Kubel had 2 goals, and Carter Hart made 23 saves on 24 shots, as the Flyers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 Saturday night.

The Flyers also defeated the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals in earlier round-robin games, used to determine seeding for the NHL playoffs after the coronavirus pandemic halted the season in March. The season resumed in late July in two Canadian hub cities: Edmonton, and Toronto, where the Flyers have played their games.

Shayne Gostisbehere, back from knee surgery, earned two assists.

Aubé-Kubel, a rookie, redirected a Gostisbehere shot for the game’s first goal at 7:40 in the first period. Aubé-Kubel scored again less than seven minutes later, marking the first two-goal game of his career.

The Flyers entered the Toronto bubble guaranteed a playoff spot, being one of the four top teams in the Eastern Conference. Starting next week, they will face the Montreal Canadiens in a best-of-seven playoff series. The Canadiens defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in a best-of-5 qualifying round.

The Flyers won 9 games in a row before falling to the Bruins on March 10 before the league shut down.

The first round of the playoffs opens Tuesday.

Injuries for Lightning

Lightning star defenseman Victor Hedman was ruled out after appearing to twist his right ankle midway through the first period.

Hedman went down untouched as he spun around to skate backward at the Tampa Bay blue line with the Flyers’ Tyler Pitlick driving up the right-wing. Hedman got up slowly and broke his stick while heading down the tunnel to the locker room.

The Lightning did not provide any details in announcing on their Twitter account that Hedman would not return.

Tampa Bay is already missing captain Steven Stamkos, who has yet to play after sustaining a lower-body injury before the start of training camp last month.

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