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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Flyers

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets





12 Days of Holiday Cheer

R.J. Umberger's 3rd period empty net goal

LISTEN: R.J. Umberger's empty net 3rd period goal CLICK HERE

WATCH: Johansen's second of the night - a sick snipe off the toe drag - makes it a 5-2 lead for the Jackets.

GOAL AUDIO: Ryan Johansen (second of the game, 14th of the year)

Boone Jenner redirects a rocket from Nikita Nikitin, giving the Blue Jackets a 4-2 lead in the third.

WATCH: David Savard gives the Jackets a 3-2 lead in the third period!

GOAL AUDIO: David Savard (even strength) | Nikita Nikitin (even strength)

What a fine line the Blue Jackets walk sometimes, isn't it? Brandon Dubinsky is millimeters away from giving his team a 3-0 lead at one end of the ice, and at the other, the Flyers score their first of two goals in 20 seconds en route to pulling into a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes. What a whirlwind and no doubt, the Blue Jackets were reeling for a few minutes at the end of that period. The good news is that, with 20 minutes to go, the Blue Jackets are right in it and have a chance to get two crucial divisional points in the process. They'll need to be more mindful of their puck decisions, though, as the Flyers took a couple of miscues and were able to tie the game. Better decisions, smarter plays, you name it...the Jackets need to keep doing their thing in the third period to send this lively crowd home happy.

RJ Umberger's PPG gives the Jackets a 2-0 lead in the second period.

GOAL AUDIO: James Wisniewski (PPG)

First period highlights from Jackets-Flyers...

FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets came out and did what they wanted to do in the opening period - they were the physical aggressors and scored the first goal (Johansen's 13th of the season). Philadelphia had a couple of chances on the power play in that period but the Blue Jackets did a solid job with their pressure up-ice and didn't allow the Flyers to create many quality looks. On the other end, the Columbus power play got a boost with the return of James Wisniewski, who has manned the No. 1 unit's right point alongside of Ryan Murray. One thing to watch for going forward is the status of Marian Gaborik, who appeared to get slashed just as Johansen scored and went right down the tunnel to the Jackets' dressing room. We'll provide an update when we have it.

Ryan Johansen's 13th goal of the season puts the Jackets ahead 1-0 in the first period.

We're giving away a copy of NHL 14, and here's how to win it:

We want you to get a little creative today, so style points count. Tweet us at @BlueJacketsNHL with your best CBJ-themed Christmas carol title. Make sure to use hashtag #CBJ in your tweet, too!

Good luck!

Today's edition of the "Rink Report" with Bob and Jody.

WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards previews tonight's game against the Flyers.

WATCH: James Wisniewski meets the media after today's morning skate.

WATCH: Marian Gaborik speaks to the media prior to making his return tonight vs. the Flyers.

PRE GAME AUDIO: Marian Gaborik | James Wisniewski | Todd Richards

UPDATE (11:05 AM):
No update this morning on Jack Skille, Richards said. Skille played sporadically in the third period on Thursday after blocking a shot with his hand. 

UPDATE (11:00 AM):
Todd Richards said Derek MacKenzie skated this morning, felt good, and is hoping to play Monday in Carolina. If not then, they're looking at Thursday in New Jersey.

UPDATE (10:55 AM):
Just to confirm, but Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Blue Jackets tonight. 

UPDATE (10:18 AM):
With Wisniewski back in the mix, the Jackets' defense pairs are starting to return to full strength...

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Savard

UPDATE (10:10 AM):
Some changes in the Jackets' lines for tonight's game. Here is how they're skating this morning..

Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Calvert - Johansen - Umberger
Foligno - Anisimov - Gaborik
Tropp - Letestu - Comeau

UPDATE (10:05 AM):
The Blue Jackets are on the ice and their morning skate is underway on the main rink. Both Marian Gaborik and James Wisniewski are on the ice, and as reported yesterday, both have been activated off injured reserve and will be in the lineup tonight. 

For the second time in 48 hours, the Blue Jackets and Flyers will hook up for a Metropolitan Division battle with valuable points and playoff positioning at stake. The Flyers got the upper hand in the first meeting on Thursday night, but now it's the Blue Jackets' chance to hold serve on home ice at Nationwide Arena. Columbus is slated for a 10 a.m. morning skate at Nationwide Arena, and we'll have complete coverage for you right 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!

Richards made it official shortly after practice on Friday: the Blue Jackets are expecting to have James Wisniewski and Marian Gaborik back in the lineup Saturday night. 

Neither player traveled with the team to Philadelphia earlier in the week and did not play in the first of two meetings between the two clubs, so adding them back into the Blue Jackets' lineup will be a significant boost to a team looking to make amends for a disastrous third period at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Curtis McElhinney, who did a fine job in keeping the Blue Jackets in the game after the first period on Thursday, will return to the net and make the start Saturday night. The Flyers are reportedly scheduled to start Ray Emery in goal in the weekend finale at Nationwide Arena. 

Following practice on Friday, Richards said he wasn't sure how much of Thursday's loss would linger with his team into Saturday but it would stick with him in particular for a long time.

He used words such as "disgusted" and "embarrassed" in reference to the Blue Jackets blowing leads of 3-0 (after two periods) and 4-2 (with under seven minutes to play) to lose 5-4 in regulation at the Wells Fargo Center in one of the Jackets' most disappointing and stunning losses of recent memory. 

Will the dynamic change with two big additions to the lineup? It certainly could and Richards is hoping it does; Gaborik and Wisniewski are two significant pieces of the roster and getting them back should help the offensive and the team's overall depth. But they won't be able to do it alone; Richards was not happy with the entire team's composure (or lack thereof) in the third period on Thursday and was disappointed in how they mismanaged the puck and the clock down the stretch.

Neither the personnel or approach is likely to change on the Flyers' side, and it's hard to argue with that given the results they saw in the third period on Thursday. They're an opportunistic team - much like the Blue Jackets have been lately - but Columbus made far too many mistakes and Philadelphia fed off that and was able to generate a large portion of chances. 

When the puck drops at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night, the Blue Jackets will look to play a more complete, responsible game in all three zones - and if they have the lead in the third period, they now know what not to do against these Flyers. 


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