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Rookie Nic Aube-Kubel paces surging Flyers past Lightning to secure Eastern Conference's top seed

Sam Carchidi, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Hockey

Right from the start of Training Camp 2.0, the Flyers downplayed the round-robin tournament's results and said their focus was on getting prepared for this week's Stanley Cup playoffs.

Consider them ready.

They blitzed through the round-robin tournament with three straight "upset" wins, including Saturday night's 4-1 triumph over Tampa Bay in Toronto, and climbed from No. 4 to No. 1 in the seedings.

Rookie right winger Nic Aube-Kubel scored a pair of goals for the Flyers, who will face surprising Montreal in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, with Game 1's date still unannounced.

"This is a dream since I'm a little kid to play in the playoffs, and I'm excited for the next game," Aube-Kubel said.

In the regular season, the Flyers went 2-1 against the Canadiens (both wins were in overtime), who shocked Pittsburgh, three games to one, in the play-in round.

 

As a tune-up to facing Montreal's outstanding goaltender, Carey Price, the Flyers defeated Andrei Vasilevskiy, one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's best goalie.

The Flyers, victors in 12 of their last 13 games, ended a seven-game losing streak to Tampa since a win over the Bolts on Dec. 29, 2017. They beat the top three seeds in the round-robin tournament at Scotiabank Arena.

"A lot of guys got to Philadelphia early and we had a great camp," Aube-Kubel said when asked how the Flyers were able to continue their momentum after nearly a five-month break.

Tyler Johnson, left all alone in front, converted Alex Killorn's pass into a power-play goal with 14:39 left in the second, getting the Lightning to within 2-1. The Flyers' penalty kill had been 8 for 8 in the tourney before Johnson beat Carter Hart.

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