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Game Preview: Jackets return home to face Flyers at Nationwide Arena

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Philadelphia Flyers (14-12-6) have won their last two games, both played at home in Wells Fargo Center, and now look to keep their modest win streak alive against the Blue Jackets (12-19-3) in Columbus on Saturday night.

The Flyers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, in overtime on Tuesday and then shut out the Vancouver Canucks by a  2-0 final on Thursday.

Michael Raffl and Sean Courtier each scored a goal for Philadelphia and goaltender Steve Mason certainly did his part, making 36 saves and earning his second shutout of the season.

The Blue Jackets snapped a five-game losing streak on Thursday night in Glendale when they defeated the Arizona Coyotes in a wild and crazy 7-5 game. Columbus’ seven goals were scored by seven different players.

The Blue Jackets played without No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who’s been out since Dec. 8 with a groin strain. Additionally, their top two defensemen Jack Johnson and David Savard were both out of the lineup with injuries. Their No. 1 center, Ryan Johansen, was a healthy scratch.

With the injuries that the Blue Jackets are currently facing, now more than ever, it’s essential that the team plays as a whole and commits to its 'team concept,' as coach John Tortorella calls it.

Two weeks ago, the Blue Jackets picked up a 4-1 win over the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center, thanks to big nights from both Scott Hartnell and Nick Foligno.

The Jackets took an early lead when Foligno opened the scoring at 8:55 of the first, and Johnson added on at 13:33. Raffl had the lone goal for Philadelphia in the second period.

Foligno scored his second of the game at 8:46 of the second, and Hartnell’s power play goal at 15:17 of the same period sealed the deal for the visitors.

In between the pipes for the Blue Jackets, Bobrovsky made his second start in as many nights and made 27 saves to help secure the win.

The Blue Jackets are 10-8-3 in the all-time series against the Flyers, and 8-1-0 in the last nine, including the aforementioned win on Dec. 5.

Hartnell is the man to watch in this match-up, not because of his ties to the Flyers, but because he currently leads the Blue Jackets with 25 points (13 G, 12 A).

The 33-year-old veteran has flourished under John Tortorella, and in the last meeting between the Jackets and Flyers, responded to a healthy scratch with a three-point effort against his former team. Hartnell has contributed immensely on special teams, leading the team with six power play goals.

In the last seven games, Hartnell has accounted for nine points, and had six points in the next four games following his healthy scratch on Dec. 4 against Florida.

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