BLUE JACKETS AT FLYERS
THURSDAY, 7 P.M.
WELLS FARGO CENTER
BY THE NUMBERS
FINAL: BLUE JACKETS 2 | FLYERS 0
WATCH: Brandon Dubinsky scores to put us up 2-0! | CLICK TO WATCH
WATCH: James Wisniewski's PPG makes it 1-0! | CLICK TO WATCH
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: The Jackets were rewarded for a hard-working second period with a James Wisniewski power play goal, and so far, it's the only goal of the hockey game in a 1-0 Columbus lead after 40 minutes in Philadelphia. Columbus' best power play of the game resulted in over 90 seconds of zone time, zipping the puck around on some really nice work by Wisniewski at the point. He crept down low and got a pass from Mark Letestu, that Wisniewski then jammed through Steve Mason and in for a 1-0 lead (his seventh goal of the season and 25th point on the power play). Bobrovsky has been the busier of the two goaltenders in the game, stopping 27 shots through two periods.
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: A back-and-forth opening period just ended at the Wells Fargo Center, with the Flyers holding a 10-9 edge in shots over the Blue Jackets. Both teams have played a fast game so far and the Jackets have emphasized their physical game, too, attempting to establish their forecheck and get some sustained time on the attack. Columbus has taken three minor penalties in the first 20 minutes, but the penalty kill has stepped up all three times against the Flyers' 10th-ranked power play unit.
WATCH: Blake Comeau talks with Bob McElligott pre-game from Philly.
WATCH: Jack Johnson discusses Jackets-Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
WATCH: Todd Richards' morning skate press conference.
UPDATE (12:00 PM): Here are some morning skate updates from Philadelphia...
- Tonight's goaltending matchup will be Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Steve Mason. There's a little history there, don't you think?
- It appears as though RJ Umberger, who took regular morning line rushes, will return to the lineup tonight against his former team. Umberger has been a healthy scratch in four of the past seven games.
- Either Nick Schultz or Tim Erixon will draw into the lineup in place of the injured Nikita Nikitin, who did not make the trip. We'll know more shortly.
WATCH: Bob & Jody break down a huge tilt tonight in Philly. | CLICK TO WATCH
UPDATE (9:35 AM): The Columbus chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Nick Foligno for the 2014 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. | CLICK TO READ
MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets have landed in Philadelphia, where they'll face the Flyers on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The team is slated for an 11:30 a.m. morning skate, and we'll have complete coverage for you here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Flyers, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
The Blue Jackets may be on the cusp of getting another defenseman back from injury. Ryan Murray, out three weeks due to a knee injury suffered Mar. 3, is on the trip with the team but will not play against the Flyers.
There will be at least one change on the back end: Nikita Nikitin, injured Tuesday night against Colorado, won't play Thursday and either Nick Schultz or Tim Erixon will draw in.
Expect Sergei Bobrovsky to start in goal for the Blue Jackets.
Never mind the fact that the Blue Jackets have never won a game in Philadelphia - they've got plenty of fresh memories and motivation from their last visit to the Wells Fargo Center.
They were in pretty good shape after 40 minutes back on Dec. 19, holding a 3-0 lead and neutralizing the Flyers off the rush. Curtis McElhinney, filling in for an injured Bobrovsky, was the backbone of a solid defensive effort before the Flyers opened the floodgates in the third period.
A seemingly-impossible goal from Flyers captain Claude Giroux with about 90 seconds left in regulation gave Philadelphia a 5-4 lead, their fifth goal of the third period (and the eventual game-winner) in one of the Jackets' most stinging losses in recent memory. They were in control with a 4-2 lead past the halfway point of the third period before the Flyers hit another gear.
And that's what this team can do; they devastate you by pouncing on mistakes and pushing the tempo off the rush, forcing opponents to play in their own zone and keep their feet moving for fear of being run out of the building. If the Flyers aren't an elite team yet, they're darn close, and they've been one of the NHL's top clubs since naming Craig Berube head coach early on in the season.
The Blue Jackets continue their 8-in-12 days stretch to finish the regular season and Thursday's game is the first of back-to-back games. They have a 2-1 edge in the season series against the Flyers - Columbus winning both games at Nationwide arena - but are seeking that elusive first win in the city of brotherly love.
VS. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
FRIDAY, 7 P.M.