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John Tortorella's Philadelphia Flyers (36-30-11) are in Ohio on Saturday to take on Pascal Vincent's Columbus Blue Jackets (25-39-12). Game time at Nationwide Arena is 7:00 p.m. EDT.

The game will be televised on NBCSP. The radio broadcast is on 93.3 WMMR with an online simulcast on Flyers Radio 24/7.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the season series between the teams and the second in Columbus. The Flyers are 2-0-1 against the Blue Jackets this season: a 4-2 road win on opening night (Oct.12), 5-2 home win on Nov. 19, and 3-2 (1-0) shootout home loss on Jan.4.

The Flyers, 2-5-3 over their past 10 games, are winless in their last six matches (0-4-2). On Friday, the Flyers lost 4-2 in Buffalo. The Blue Jackets, 3-6-1 in the last 10 games, lost 4-2 to the New York Islanders at home on Thursday.

Here are five things to watch on Saturday:

1. All That Matters: The Bottom Line

Process wise, the Flyers played a much-improved game against the Sabres compared to their other recent games. Philly had a large-scale edge in puck possession and scoring chances, did not take any penalties that left them shorthanded, and yielded a reasonable five high-danger scoring chances for the entire game.

Unfortunately, that wasn't good enough. Goaltending was the biggest difference. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was outstanding in net for the Sabres, and the Flyers also missed the net on 21 shot attempts. At the other end of the ice, making his first NHL start under difficult circumstances, Ivan Fedotov was unable to match his opponent's performance in goal.

Saturday's game in Columbus needn't be pretty. There are no moral victories this time of year. Bottom line: The Flyers need a win.

2. Late Season Surge for Cates

The 2023-24 season has been a frustrating one from an offensive standpoint for Flyers' winger/center Noah Cates. Entering Monday's game against the Islanders, Cates had only scored three goals (one of which was an uncontested empty-net goal) for the season.

In each of the last two games, Cates has scored the Flyers' first goal of the game. He provided a 1-0 lead in the first period of the Islanders game. On Friday, Cates scored from the right circle to knot the score at 1-1 in the second period.

Cates will try to make it three straight games on Saturday.

3. Ersson the Likely Starter in Net

There is a possibility that Samuel Ersson will get the start in net for each of the Flyers' remaining games in the regular season. Saturday's game in Columbus is the second half of the Flyers' final back-to-back set of the 2023-24 regular season.

Recently, Ersson has seemed to be worn down from an extended period of near-exclusive use in the weeks following the All-Star break. Something similar happened late last season when Ersson was playing in the AHL for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Dating back to March 1, Ersson has made 13 starts. He's posted a 4-5-3 record, 3.58 goals against average, and .864 save percentage. For the season, he is 21-16-7 with a 2.81 GAA, .891 save percentage and three shutouts.

4. Flyers Special Teams vs. Columbus Special Teams

The Flyers, as noted earlier, did not have to kill any penalties in Friday's game. For the season, Philly ranks third in the NHL at 83.7 percent. 

The Flyers still lead the NHL with 15 shorthanded goals scored: five by Travis Konecny, three by Ryan Poehling, two by Laughton, two by former Flyers defenseman Sean Walker (now with Colorado), and one apiece by Garnet Hathaway, Travis Sanheim and Tyson Foerster. The most recent one was scored by Foerster against Toronto on March 14.

The Flyers were 0-for-2 on the power play against the Sabres. Neither opportunity generated any Grade-A scoring chances. For the season, the Flyers rank 32nd in the NHL at 12.8 percent.

The Columbus power play ranks 30th in the NHL at 14.9 percent. Their penalty kill ranks 25th at 76.6 percent with five shorthanded goals scored.

5. Behind Enemy Lines: Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are playing their next-to-last home game of the season. The club is 15-19-5 on home ice this season. The team's lineup, due to injuries, illness or leave to tend to personal matters, will be short by 10 players against the Flyers, according to the team's official website.

Likely unavailable: goalies Daniil Tarasov (injured in Thursday's game against the Islanders) and Elvis Merzlikins (lower-body injury), defensemen Jake Bean (injured on Thursday) and Adam Boqvist (upper-body injury), and forwards Adam Fantilli (calf laceration suffered in January), Patrik Laine (fractured clavicle, NHL Player Assistance Program), Boone Jenner (illness), Kent Johnson (torn labrum),  Yegor Chinakhov (upper-body injury), and Sean Kuraly (lower-body injury).

One returnee: Johnny Gaudreau missed two games due to illness. He is likely to return to play against the Flyers on Saturday. "Johnny Hockey" leads the team in scoring with 56 points (11g, 45a) in 75 games played.

With neither Tarasov nor Merzlikins available,  the Blue Jackets have Jet Greaves (1-3-0,3.04 GAA, .914 save percentage) and Malcolm Subban available in net.

Defenseman Zach Werenski leads the Columbus blueline with 49 points (7g, 42a) this season. Former Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov has posted 31 points (9g, 22a). Right winger Kirill Marchenko has scored 21 goals and 39 points.