Philadelphia Flyers (32-20-7, 71pts)
Columbus Blue Jackets (30-18-12, 72pts)
at Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA
TIME: 7:00 p.m. | TV: NBCSP | RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
Presented by: BELFOR PROPERTY RESTORATION
METRO & WILD CARD RACE
M1 - WSH: 79 pts - 23 games remaining / 1 vs. Flyers
M2 - PIT: 78 pts - 25 games remaining / 1 vs. Flyers
M3 - NYI: 72 pts - 24 games remaining / 1 vs. Flyers
WC1 - CBJ: 72 pts - 22 games remaining / 2 vs. Flyers
WC2 - PHI: 71 pts - 23 games remaining
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
CAR: 70 pts - 24 games remaining / 1 vs. Flyers
FLA: 68 pts - 23 games remaining / 0 vs. Flyers
Season Series: 2-0-0
All-Time Record: 38gp (14-13-3-8)
PHI - Sean Couturier: 52-pts (17g-35a)
CBJ - Pierre-Luc Dubois: 44-pts (17g-27a)
1. THE SITUATION IS...
The Flyers and Blue Jackets will close out their season series in the span of three days for their home-and-home series beginning tonight... Both teams in a race for playoff positioning with the Flyers (71pts) and Blue Jackets (72pts) sitting in wild card position... Both teams could surpass the Islanders (72pts), who are idle tonight, for 3rd place in the Metro but also have two games in-hand on the Flyers and three on Columbus... The Flyers look to bounce back after a 5-3 loss at Tampa on Saturday - they haven't dropped two games in-a-row since four straight from Dec. 31-Jan. 7, and have earned a win immediately after a loss in their last six attempts... Columbus has lost five straight games, going 0-2-3, but despite that, they have earned points in 13 of their last 15 games to climb the standings, going 9-2-4.
2. HEAD TO HEAD
The Flyers won the first two meetings of the year, both overcoming deficits, and will be looking for their first three-game winning streak over the Blue Jackets since they entered the league in 2000-01... The Flyers have outscored Columbus 5-1 in the third period, gone 33.3% on the power play (3-for-9) and perfect on the penalty kill (6-for-6) thus far in the series... James van Riemsdyk (2g-2a) and Kevin Hayes (1g-3a) lead the Flyers with four point, while Sonny Milano leads Columbus with three assists... Brian Elliott started both games, but Carter Hart will get the call in net tonight... The Blue Jackets will be without three of their top players in each position tonight due to injury: forward Cam Atkinson, defenseman Seth Jones and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.
3. HOMEWARD BOUND
The Flyers return home after a three-game road trip and will now play four of their next five, and seven of their next 10 games on home ice... They continue to be among the top NHL teams, ranking third in win percentage (.750) and T-3rd in points (42) despite playing the third fewest home games of any team... They are 4-1-0 in their last five at home and haven't dropped back-to-back games in regulation at the Wells Fargo Center all season... The Flyers have also scored an average of 3.50 goals per-game at home, which is 5th in the NHL and allowed just 2.11 goals per-game at home, which is ranked 2nd in the league.
4. KEEP ON STREAKING
A pair of Flyers lead the charge with five-game point streaks entering tonight - Claude Giroux has nine points (3g-6a) in his streak, while James van Riemsdyk has eight points (4g-4a), including goals in four of the five games... The Flyers defense has scored in four straight games and have combined for 17 points (5g-12a) in that span... They lead the NHL for most goals from defensemen (40), while the Blue Jackets are T-3rd in the NHL with 37 goals from the blueline... Oliver Bjorkstrand has a four-game streak with four points (2g-2a)
5. PLAYERS TO WATCH
FLYERS (D: #15 - Matt Niskanen)
Matt Niskanen has points in two straight games and four of his last five outings... He also leads the team's defense, while tying for 2nd in the NHL among d-men for the most points thus far in February, recording eight points (2g-6a) in eight games... Niskanen has the second-most points against Columbus (2g-16a, 18pts) than any other NHL team in his career.
BLUE JACKETS (G: #90 - Elvis Merzlikins)
The rookie goaltender has started seven of the last eight games... After beginning the season as back up to Joonis Korpisalo, Merzlikins now leads all NHL goaltenders with five shutouts, fourth in GAA (2.20) and save percentage (.928)... Since New Year's Eve, he's posted a record of 12-4-2, which is second-best in the NHL.