GAME 74: BLUE JACKETS VS. FLYERS
NATIONWIDE ARENA, 2:00 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM
The Jackets are back at Nationwide Arena Saturday for the first of two home games in a row as they welcome the Philadelphia Flyers for a matinee matchup.
The game is the third of six that the Jackets play in a ten-day span to finish up the month of March. It's an important opportunity for the home team to respond after losing their last two games to Toronto and Washington.
The Jackets have lost two games in a row just five times this season, and they remain the only team in the NHL yet to lose three consecutive matchups.
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The Flyers (34-31-8) come to Columbus six points out of the final Wild Card spot. Thursday they earned a 3-1 victory over Minnesota and they will be in search of an elusive win at Nationwide on Saturday. The Jackets have a home record advantage of 9-2-2 over their Metropolitan Division rival and are 14-9-3 against the Flyers all-time.
Video: Atkinson, Bobrovsky lead Jackets to 5-3 win
Here are five things to watch for:
Early bird gets the worm.
It's an early start for tomorrow's game. The puck drops at 2 p.m. But that hasn't been a problem for the Jackets. They come in to the game against the Flyers 11-0-0 in games that start at 5 p.m. local time or earlier. There's one more early start on the schedule ahead for the Jackets, and that is also against the Flyers on Apr. 8 in Philadelphia (12:30 p.m. start).
Stronger transitional play.
The Jackets need to improve their ability to move the puck through the neutral zone. Head coach John Tortorella hasn't been happy with the team's transitional play the last few games, and in Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss to Washington, the Jackets found themselves struggling to get into the opponent's zone and generate offense. They were out-attempted by the Capitals 89-48 in 65 minutes of play.
Road weary Flyers.
Saturday's game marks the Flyers' eighth road game this month and their travels haven't been all too happy. They are 1-5-1 in road whites in March, and Thursday's win over Minnesota was the first road win for Philadelphia since a Feb. 19 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
With an assist on the lone goal against the Capitals Thursday, Brandon Dubinsky extended his point streak to four games. He has two goals and six assists in his last ten games. One of his goals was the game winner against the Flyers in Philadelphia Mar. 13.
The Jackets have set a new franchise record for goals scored in a season with 229 goals scored so far this year. The previous record was set during the 2014-15 season, when the team put up 227 scores in 82 games.
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP: