The Philadelphia Flyers have not won the NHL's Eastern Conference title since 2010, but thanks to a very impressive 3-0 record during the East's round-robin tournament to determine playoff seeding, the Flyers are now conference favorites priced +300 on the moneyline odds at William Hill sportsbook. The Boston Bruins were the East favorites entering the postseason.
No team was playing better than Philadelphia when the league shut down in mid-March as it had won nine of its past 10. The Flyers carried that into the round robin in Toronto, knocking off Boston, Washington and Tampa Bay by multiple goals each and surrendering just three total goals. That earned Philly the East's top seed.
The Flyers open the best-of-7 conference quarterfinals – all held in Toronto – as -220 favorites over the No. 8 Montreal Canadiens. Their opener is Wednesday. Montreal upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games in their best-of-5 qualifying series. The Habs were the last team of the 24 admitted to the postseason. The Habs are +1500 to win the East. They lost all three regular-season matchups vs. Philadelphia.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had a shot at the East's top seed but lost a winner-take-all game to the Flyers on Saturday, 4-1, to finish as the No. 2 seed. The Bolts enter their series opener vs. No. 7 Columbus on Tuesday with two huge injury questions: Defenseman and Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman (hurt vs. the Flyers) and second-leading scorer Steven Stamkos (didn't play during the round robin).
Tampa is +330 to win the East. Last year, it also met Columbus (+1500) in the first round of the playoffs with the Bolts having won the Presidents' Trophy in the 2018-19 campaign and tying an NHL record with 62 wins. They were summarily swept by Columbus in the biggest playoff upset in league history – the first time a Presidents' Trophy winner was swept in Round 1. Tampa is -240 for this series and Columbus +200.
The Bruins were the only team to reach 100 points during the season but didn't win a single round-robin game to slip to the East's fourth seed and +400 to win the conference title. They face Carolina starting Tuesday. The Hurricanes (+650) were the first team to advance by sweeping the New York Rangers in their best-of-5 qualifying round series. Boston and Carolina met in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals with the B's prevailing in a sweep. They are -160 for this series and the Canes +140.
In the final East series, No. 3 Washington (+550 for conference title) faces the No. 6 New York Islanders (+1200). The Capitals won the Cup two seasons ago but are just 10-10 overall in playoff series in the Alex Ovechkin era. Washington was favored in eight of the 10 series it lost and is -170 for this one with the Isles +145.
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