BLUE JACKETS 4 | FLYERS 3
Scott Hartnell Post Game
Jared Boll Post Game
Todd Richards Post Game
Jared Boll Goal
Cam Atkinson Goal
Artem Anisimov Goal
ANALYSIS: Much like the first period, the Blue Jackets had the better of the play in the second period but they still find themselves trailing after 40 minutes. Brandon Dubinsky's first goal in nine games got the Jackets even at 8:09 of the second period, capping off an excellent Columbus sequence in the Flyers zone. The Jackets were able to change on that lengthy offensive zone shift, but the Dubinsky line drove the bus and eventually got the tying goal. After a turnover on the breakout by Philadelphia, Kevin Connauton sent the puck toward the net from the left wing boards and Dubinsky tipped it under the crossbar for his fourth of the season. A bad break later in the period gave the Flyers the lead once again; the puck ricocheted off a Blue Jackets defender, off the crossbar and squeaked through Curtis McElhinney at 17:47, and that's where we stand headed to the third period. Shots are 22-15 favoring the Jackets, who have a penalty to kill to begin the third.
Brandon Dubinsky Goal
Second Period Highlights
ANALYSIS: If you're the Blue Jackets and coach Todd Richards, it's hard to be disappointed with how the first period was played save for how the scoreboard currently looks. They were the dictators in the first 20 minutes, hunting loose pucks, causing turnovers and getting to the front of the Philadelphia net protected by Ray Emery. Emery's the only reason the score is 1-0 in favor of the Flyers right now, as he racked up 11 saves in the first period and a couple were point-blank denials, including a lunging stop on Nick Foligno late in the frame. The lone goal came via Wayne Simmonds, who took a great pass from Matt Read at the blue line and stormed his way to the net, snapping his 20th goal of the season past Curtis McElhinney's glove at 10:33. Shots are 11-7 favoring the Blue Jackets.
First Period Highlights
UPDATE (11:30 AM): Head coach Todd Richards shuffled the lines a bit for tonight, reuniting Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen alongside Scott Hartnell. Richards said he's uniting them in part to help spark the power play once again. The other thing that can spark the man-advantage is more opportunities, with the Jackets only earning five in the last four games.
"Some of that is our five-on-five play not being good enough to draw penalties," said Richards. "You're skating, you're moving, you're forechecking in the other team's zone, and sometimes they have to take penalties. We haven't done a good enough job there."
- Another helping hand in boosting the power play is the return of James Wisniewski, who will play tonight and has five power play goals this season, third most on the team.
"We haven't been getting a lot of repetitions," said Wisniewski, echoing his coach. "It's hard to create offensive chances but you can also create momentum for your team if you have pressure in the zone and get shots on net. You can create momentum for five-on-five play."
UPDATE (11:00 AM): Players in the dressing room were wearing baseball caps to commemorate Scott Hartnell's 1000th game, which took place on Monday. Hartnell said the hats, which feature the number "43" on the front colored in with the Blue Jackets logo, were given out by teammate Nick Foligno.
"He's my best friend on the team so far," said Hartnell of Foligno. "He's made the transition so easy. Everyone loves him, and he has a big heart."
Hartnell took care of his teammates as well with a custom-made bottle of wine, given to each player who played on Monday as a thank you for their part in his milestone.
- Hartnell will be presented with a silver stick as part of a pregame ceremony to honor his 1000th game. "I'm excited to see it," said Hartnell, who mentioned he was on hand when former teammate Kimmo Timonen received his. "I've done a pretty good job of staying healthy in this league, you know how compeitive it is, for this long. I'm excited to see it, and I'm excited for my parents to be here."
- Sergei Bobrovsky skated again on his own this morning after the team skate, as he continues to work his way back from a groin injury.
UPDATE (10:10 AM): Here are the lines and pairings from this morning's skate...
- James Wisniewski took full part in the morning skate, including power play drills, and appears likely to go tonight. We will have further confirmation this morning after the skate.
- Dalton Prout was already ruled out for tonight's action, and he was not on the ice for the skate this morning. Jordan Leopold was the extra defenseman rotating through drills today.
Everybody well-rested out there?
The Jackets are back in action tonight when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets had three off days since their loss to the Kings on Monday, valuable time to regroup and get some maintenance for the banged-up members of their roster. That includes James Wisniewski, whom Todd Richards said was a possibility to play Friday. Wisniewski's return would be welcome news with Dalton Prout (upper body) ruled out for Friday night. Richards said the team was awaiting medical clearance for Wisniewski.
The Flyers are playing some better hockey of late, with points in seven straight games (5-0-2). The Flyers remain out of the playoff picture, but roll into town with some pretty potent weapons, including top-10 scorers Claude Giroux and former-Jacket Jakub Voracek. The two have combined for two goals and 10 points in three games against Columbus this season. The Jackets are 2-1-0 against the Flyers this season.
Here are some other pre-skate nuggets:
- While Voracek is one ex-Jacket taking the ice Friday night, he won't be joined by another. Goaltender Steve Mason will be unavailable for the Flyers after suffering a lower-body injury during a TV timeout in Sunday's game against Washington. Mason was with the Jackets for parts of five seasons before being traded to the Flyers during the 2013 season. He also won the Calder Trophy in 2009 as the NHL's Rookie of the Year.
- With the Flyers confirming a two-to-three week recovery period for Mason, the team had recalled Anthony Stolarz from AHL Lehigh Valley earlier in the week. Rob Zepp, the Flyers third-string option earlier this year, was injured as well at the time and couldn't be recalled. He is starting Friday night for Lehigh Valley and may be recalled to the Flyers after. With all that considered, it is highly likely that Ray Emery will start Friday night at Nationwide Arena.
- Scott Hartnell played in his 1,000th career game against the Kings on Monday and will be honored in a ceremony before puck drop tonight. It's fitting the Flyers will be on hand for the ceremony. Hartnell spent seven seasons with the Flyers before being traded to the Jackets this summer.
- The Jackets will look to get their power play back on track against the 28th-ranked penalty kill in the league. The Blue Jackets are 1-for-19 with the man-advantage in their last eight games.
- Kevin Connauton scored the overtime winner for Columbus in the last meeting between these two teams. It was the first of six consecutive games in which the Blue Jackets would go to overtime or the shootout. They won five of those games, and they haven't played past regulation since the end of that run.
- The Jackets will start Curtis McElhinney in net. McElhinney is 6-3-0 in his past nine games with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.