GAME 58: FLYERS (28-19-10) AT BLUE JACKETS (29-24-4)
Location: Nationwide Arena, 7 P.M., Friday
TV: Fox Sports Ohio/Fox Sports Go; NBCSP, TVA Sports
Radio: 97.1 FM & BlueJackets.com
This is a big weekend for the Blue Jackets, who have 62 points and play two more Metropolitan Division teams, including the rival Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
First, though, they'll face another team from Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Flyers are coming off a 5-4 shootout loss Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, but are third in the Metro with 66 points and haven't lost in regulation in their past six games.
"We're in good position right now to make the playoffs, but we can't get comfortable with it," Flyer captain Claude Giroux said after Philadelphia's morning skate Friday. "There's a lot of teams that are chasing us. Just having that experience of going to the playoffs this year would help us for the future, so these games like tonight against teams chasing us, they're big games."
The Blue Jackets are coming off a 6-3 loss Wednesday to the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite outshooting them 57-28 and becoming just the second team in NHL history to post 50-plus shots in three consecutive games. They've outshot their last seven opponents, including the last six by a whopping 283-173 margin, but went 2-5-0 in those games - including five against Metro teams.
Regardless of those outcomes, Columbus doesn't plan to back off its shoot-first mentality.
"We're not going to change our mindset," defenseman Seth Jones said, following the Blue Jackets' morning skate. "We score three goals in a game, get 50 shots, it's good enough to win. [You] can't give up five goals. That's not a recipe for success. We've been scoring some goals lately ... six, four and three the past few games, and that's pretty good. That's good enough to win in our book. We're going to keep that mentality of shooting the puck and retrieving it and shooting it again."
Columbus sits just outside a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, a point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild-card spot. The Blue Jackets are four points behind the New Jersey Devils for the top wild card and four back of the Flyers.
That's despite going 8-11-2 since Dec. 23, when the Jackets defeated the Flyers, 2-1, in a shootout at Nationwide Arena.
"We can't lose our swagger because you lose a game," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "You need to understand how you played, and we've got to get right on the attack against a really good Philadelphia team."