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Blue Jackets top Flyers for eighth straight win

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Five players scored and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was sharp again as the Columbus Blue Jackets extended their franchise-best winning streak to eight games Thursday with a 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The team effort was nothing new, according to Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky.

"It's everybody from [Bobrovsky] all the way out that's contributing," he said.

Matt Calvert scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, breaking a 2-2 tie, then set up Dubinsky for a key goal early in the third after the Blue Jackets had killed a 45-second, two-man advantage for the Flyers that had carried over from the middle period.

Calvert outworked three Flyers along the left wall and fed Dubinsky at 3:29 to make it 4-2. Nathan Horton scored at 6:54 of the third with a wicked shot off the left corner post for a 5-2 lead.

Horton's goal, his fourth in 10 games, came one second after Scott Hartnell exited the penalty box after his third penalty of the game, this one for boarding against Mark Letestu. Hartnell moved from the left side for his first game at right wing since his rookie season with the Nashville Predators in 2000-01.

After spotting the Flyers a 2-1 lead, Columbus (26-20-4) roared back with four unanswered goals to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Calvert and Dubinsky each had a goal and an assist. Jack Johnson and Derek MacKenzie also scored for Columbus, which got 26 saves from Bobrovsky in the franchise's 1,000th regular-season game.

"Throughout the last couple of games, there's been moments we've been tested," MacKenzie said. "Slowly in this room we're getting the feeling where no matter what teams throw at us, we dig deep and find a way to win."

Bobrovsky, playing against his former team for the first time, has won nine straight games to improve to 17-11-2.

"There's a confidence in the room now," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "There's an understanding of how we need to play as a group to have success. Guys aren't caught up in the points. It's about the wins."

The Flyers are 2-4-2 in the past eight games and are searching for answers.

"We've got to do a better job defensively, follow the systems," captain Claude Giroux said. "I don't think we work together. I don't think we support each other. It's obviously going to change, and we're going to start winning again."

Brayden Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier scored in the second period for Philadelphia (25-21-6). The goals put the Flyers ahead after Johnson's third of the season at 8:20 of the first gave Columbus a 1-0 lead.

The Flyers were looking to rebound from a 3-2 home loss Wednesday to the Carolina Hurricanes in a game rescheduled from Tuesday because of a snowstorm.

Former Columbus goalie Steve Mason started that game, so Flyers coach Craig Berube went with backup Ray Emery, who was spectacular at times while making 34 saves despite receiving with little defensive support.

"Sloppy hockey," Schenn said. "It's a little bit of communication in the D zone. We were not supporting the puck enough well enough, maybe running around too much. We're leaving our goalies hanging out to dry."

Emery made three of his 13 saves in the first period during consecutive Columbus power plays after Hartnell was called for slashing and tripping Ryan Johansen at 9:58. The Blue Jackets entered the game clicking at 31 percent (9 for 19) this month with the man advantage, but finished 1-for-7 against the Flyers.

Johnson gave Columbus a 1-0 lead at 8:20 of the first when his shot from the point went in off Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn.

"It wasn't much too talk about," Johnson said. "I was just trying to get it past the forward that was in front of me, get it past the first guy. It hit the guy's legs twice and went in."

The Flyers tied the score at 1-1 in the second period due to Brayden Schenn's persistence. The young forward scored at 1:56 when he poked home his third try at Bobrovsky off an odd-man rush. Schenn has 14 goals, two more than his previous best.

Lecavalier scored his 11th at 7:21 for the 2-1 lead with a wicked one-timer from the right circle off a pass from Mark Streit, but the Blue Jackets tied it at 2-2 four minutes later.

Columbus was on a line change but kept possession deep long enough for Artem Anisimov to find MacKenzie driving down the slot for a quick shot. The tap-in was MacKenzie's third goal.

"Relentless is a word to use for the way we've been playing," Dubinsky said.

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