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Game Preview: Blue Jackets, Flyers meet for Saturday night showdown

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Philadelphia Flyers (11-10-5) played the Devils in New Jersey on Friday night before returning home to battle the Blue Jackets (10-16-1) at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. Matt Read scored in overtime to give the Flyers a key divisional win, while Michal Neuvirth got the start in goal.

Both teams are playing the second leg of back-to-back games. The Jackets faced-off against the Florida Panthers at Nationwide Arena on Friday, dropping a 2-1 final in a shootout.

This Metropolitan Division match-up will be important for Philadelphia and Columbus. Both the Jackets and Flyers need points in order to make up ground in the postseason race, and with the season already 25 percent complete, points are at a higher premium with each passing day.

A few notes:

Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas has been suspended for three games for an illegal check to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Mika Zibanejad during Philadelphia’s game on Tuesday in Ottawa. He will not play against the Blue Jackets.

Blue Jackets No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky started Friday night but Saturday's starter remains unclear. Defenseman Fedor Tyutin and forward David Clarkson have rejoined the team for practices, but neither played on Friday.  

On Feb. 17, the Jackets bested the Flyers 5-2 in Philadelphia thanks to a big third period effort. Curtis McElhinney had a terrific performance in between the pipes, making 42 saves, and earned his eighth win in 11 tries.

James Wisniewski opened the scoring in the first with a power play goal at 4:51, and Ryan Johansen added on another less than two minutes later. Wayne Simmonds and Michael Del Zotto each had a goal for the Flyers and the game was tied at 19:08 of the second period.

The Jackets had a big third period with goals coming from Matt Calvert, who scored his second goal in empty-net fashion with less than a minute to go, and Brandon Dubinsky.

The Blue Jackets are 7-2-0 in the last nine games against the Flyers, 3-1-0 in the last four road games and 9-8-3 in the all-time series. This is the first of four meetings these two teams will have during the 2015-16 season.

Leading the Flyers with nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points is captain Claude Giroux. The 27-year-old was drafted by Philadelphia in the first round (22nd overall) during the 2006 NHL Draft, and has spent all nine career NHL seasons with the Flyers.

In 522 NHL games, Giroux has netted 153 goals and tallied 319 assists for 472 points. In 57 career playoff games, he’s added 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points.

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