The Flyers (82 points) are one point behind the Detroit Red Wings (83 points), who play at Tampa Bay tonight, for the final wild card position in the East with one game in hand… The Flyers have earned points in four straight road games (3-0-1), and seven of their last eight on the road, going 5-1-2… The Blue Jackets have dropped four of their last five games, and only scored four goals combined in those four losses… Columbus has recorded points in the standings in 16 of past 24 games, going 12-8-4… They were the first team to have four 20-goal scorers in the NHL this season (Saad, Jenner, Hartnell and Atkinson) all reaching the mark in February… Scott Hartnell is one goal shy of 300 in his NHL career.
This is the fourth and final meeting of the year against the Blue Jackets… The Flyers are 1-1-1 in the season series, but won the last meeting in convincing fashion, 6-0 on Mar. 5 when Radko Gudas recorded four points (2g-2a)… The Flyers dropped a 3-2 shootout decision in Columbus on Dec. 19 and have now dropped seven straight against the Blue Jackets in Columbus, going 0-4-3, with the last three going past regulation play and the last Flyers win in Ohio coming on Dec. 13, 2005… Steve Mason has started all three games against the Blue Jackets this season, posting a 1.95 GAA and .933 save percentage, while the Blue Jackets have had three different goaltenders start all three games.
The Flyers defense has recorded a goal in five straight games and seven of the last eight contests, while also posting 30 points (9g-21a) in the last 11 games… They have also gone perfect on the penalty kill in their last four games (11-for-11), perfect in their last 12 times shorthanded over the last five games, while allowing just one goal on the PK in the month of March, killing 18–of-19 advantages at 94.7 percent… Chris VandeVelde is eligible to play in tonight’s game for the first time since serving his two-game suspension from the NHL… The Blue Jackets have killed off 44-of-51 power plays in their last 14 games, going 86.3 percent… In 31 games since being acquired by Columbus, defenseman Seth Jones has 16 points (2g-14a).
With an assist in last night’s game, Raffl has recorded points in four of his last five contests with six points (3g-3a) in that stretch… Raffl is putting together his best month of the season with eight points (4g-4a) in nine games in March… He is one of only two players in the Flyers lineup to have appeared in all 71 games this year (Simmonds)… Raffl is fifth on the team with 12 goals, only one of which has come on the power play, and over the last two seasons he leads the Flyers with 29 even strength goals… Against the Blue Jackets, he has two goals and an assist for three points in three games of the season series, and has four points (2g-2a) in nine career games.
The 26-year-old right wing has six goals and eight points in his last nine games and leads the Blue Jackets in both goals (tied, 25) and overall points (46), both of which are new career highs, in 71 games played… At home, Atkinson has also led the charge with 10 goals and 15 points in his last 15 games at Nationwide Arena… He was the Blue Jackets 157th overall pick in the sixth around of the 2008 NHL Draft and in his fifth season in the NHL is 10 games shy of 300 games played… He has 84 goals and 74 assists for 158 points… Against the Flyers, he is scoreless in the season series and has four points (2g-2a) in 13 games.