The Tampa Bay Lighting are coming off a deep playoff run that extended all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, but there won’t be any championship banners raised in Florida when the Bolts welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to town to open the 2015/16 NHL season Wednesday.
- Tampa Bay had the best home record in the NHL last year (32-8-1).
- Dave Hakstol will be making his NHL coaching debut for the Flyers.
- Philadelphia had the 2nd best powerplay in the league last year.
One of the youngest and most talented teams in the league, Tampa gave fans and bettors alike plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the future last season. The Bolts finished second in the Atlantic Division at 50-24-8 SU thanks largely in part to a high-octane offense that found the back of the net 262 times – tops in the NHL.
‘Underwhelming’ is probably the best word to sum up Philadelphia’s 2014/15 season. The Flyers were on the outside looking in towards the playoffs at 33-31-18 SU but still have plenty of talent, namely superstar forwards Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Philly has missed the postseason twice since 2012/13 after making playoff appearances in 16 out of its prior 17 seasons.
Ben Bishop and Steve Mason are the probable starters for the Lightning and Flyers, respectively. Bishop posted a 40-13-5 record with a .916 save percentage and 2.32 GAA, while Mason finished 18-18-11 with a .928 save percentage and 2.25 GAA.