The Philadelphia Flyers play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon, as they hope to derail the Bolts and end a two-game losing streak. The Flyers are coming off losses against the Panthers and Devils. They were blanked by the Devils, 3-0, on Thursday. To add insult to injury, the Flyers are going to be without Brian Elliott for at least two weeks with a lower-body injury.
That’s terrible news for a team who have been without Michal Neurvith for the duration of the season thus far. Neuvirth can’t stay healthy, so it has been Elliott’s show between the pipes this year. With no Elliott or Neuvirth, the Flyers are forced to go with Maple Leaf and Golden Knight castaway Calvin Pickard. Pickard spent time with Vegas in the preseason, was acquired by Toronto, and then picked up by Philadelphia following his second release in such little time.
Most of Pickard’s career has been spent in Denver with the Avalanche. He finished with a 2.98 GAA in 2016-17 in the most workload he’s seen in a season. Pickard appeared in 50 games and played like, well, a backup goaltender. Varlamov was battling injured, so Pickard seen more action than the Avalanche planned.
He didn’t impress enough to stick around, though, and he hasn’t seen regular playing time in net since. In the limited action he’s seen this season, Pickard hasn’t shown the ability to be able to shoulder a full load. With the offence struggling to score the last two games, it also puts Pickard under more pressure if they are held in check again this afternoon. Not to mention, the Flyers leave a lot to be desired on their blueline. However, Tampa are feeling good after dispatching the Pittsburgh Penguins. We’ll see if that sets them up for a letdown or momentum. Head below for our free Lightning vs. Flyers pick.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Philadelphia Flyers Pick
Pickard enters this game 3rd on the Flyers’ depth chart. Elliott and Neuvirth are the 1 and 2, so that leaves Pickard third in line. If it weren’t for the Neuvirth injury, it’s unlikely that Pickard would be wearing the bright orange of Philadelphia. Flyers’ brass can’t be thrilled about him being in net, but they are running out of options.
Pickard owns a 0.865 save percentage and 4.33 GAA in seven games this season. He allowed 4 goals in one game with the Maple Leafs a season ago. That’s as far as the Leafs let him go, as he wasn’t called on to start another game. The Lightning will be dealing with a backup goaltender in this game as well.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will be out for the Lightning for 4-6 weeks. Timetables always change, usually for the worse, so don’t be surprised if that goes up, especially with a fractured foot. That leaves Louis Domingue in net, who is beatable, but he provides better support than Pickard in net.
Domingue enters with a 3.36 GAA and 0.89 save percentage. The Flyers have been silent on offence recently, which should give Domingue a lift. When your team 29th in goals against and working with a 3rd string goaltender, the offence must be clicking to find wins. Conversely, the Lightning are tied for 1st in the league with 3.53 goals scored per game. The Bolts at this price against Pickard looks like a bargain.