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FIVE THINGS: Flyers at Columbus Blue Jackets

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers (25-20-6--56pts)

  Columbus Blue Jackets (25-20-4--54pts)
TV: CSN RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic

The Flyers sit in the third and final playoff position in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points, while the Blue Jackets are right behind them with 54 points and have played two fewer games… In the Metropolitan Division, six points separate the second-place NY Rangers (57) and seventh-place Carolina Hurricanes (51)… The Blue Jackets come into tonight riding a seven-game winning streak… During their streak, Columbus has outscored their opponent, 28-15, and are led by defenseman James Wisniewski, who has seven assists and nine points, while forward Cam Atkinson has five goals and seven points in that span… The Flyers come in having dropped three of their last four games, but on the road have earned points in four of their last five, going 3-1-1.

This is the third of four, and final meeting at Columbus for the Flyers… The teams played a home-and-home series in December, which each team winning on their home ice… In those two games the teams combined for 18 goals (Flyers - 8, Columbus - 10)… Of the 18 goals, 11 have been scored in the third period, while the Flyers have scored six of their eight goals in the third period in the season series thus far… Claude Giroux has five points (2g-3a), while Jakub Voracek has four points (1g-3a) in the two games against the Blue Jackets this season… Nikita Nikitin leads the Jackets with three points, all assists, while Nick Foligno and former Flyer RJ Umberger each have two goals in two games against the Flyers this season.

The Blue Jackets have gone 40% (6-for-15) on the power-play in their last four games… The Flyers have given up the first goal in five of their last seven games… Columbus ranks third in the NHL in goals per-game for January (3.56) and eighth for the season (2.84)… The Flyers have played the Blue Jackets just 13 times, including twice this year, in Columbus’s 12 seasons of existence since joining the NHL in 2000, which is the fewest number of games for the Flyers against any active NHL franchise… Wayne Simmonds next goal will be his 100th career goal in the NHL… The Blue Jackets are 17-1-1 when leading after the second period - their only regulation loss came against the Flyers on Dec. 19… The Flyers own the sixth-best power play on the road (23.7%), while the Blue Jackets are tied for the seventh-best penalty kill at home (84.9%).

4. Player to watch FLYERS: Scott Hartnell (RW: 19)
Hartnell is riding a five game point streak where he has two goals and five assists for seven points… Hartnell has also posted at least a point 14 of his last 16 games (since Dec. 21), recording six goals and 11 assists for 17 points during that stretch… He is tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 30 points (12g-18a) and is tied for second with a plus-minus rating of plus-5… Against the Blue Jackets, Hartnell has one assist in two games this season, but has 18 points (8g-10a) in 41 career games.

5. Player to watch BLUE JACKETS: Sergei Bobrovsky (G: 72)
Bobrovsky will be facing his former team for the first time since being traded to the Blue Jackets in 2012 for three draft picks… Since returning from an injury that caused him to miss 14 games from Dec. 6-Jan. 4, he has gone a perfect 6-0-0 with a 1.95 GAA and .938 save percentage, and has an eight-game win streak, going 8-0-0 with a 1.77 GAA and .941 save percentage… He has also gone 12-3-2 with a 2.36 GAA & .919 save percentage since Nov. 9, including 7-1-0 on home ice… He is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner as NHL’s top goalie, and also earned 1st Team NHL All-Star honors last season going 21-11-6 with a 2.00 GAA & .932 save percentage… He was one of three goaltenders named to Team Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"I think there was no energy all game. We didn’t get our forecheck, we didn’t make plays, we didn’t have any confidence. I think that’s how we were playing at the start of the year. We need to play with confidence, believe in ourselves and make the plays that are there."
- Claude Giroux
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