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Flyers aim to keep it going in Columbus

by Eric Goodman
FLYERS (3-3-1) at BLUE JACKETS (4-3-0)


Season series -- This is the only meeting of the season between the Flyers and Jackets. Jeff Carter tallied two goals to lead Philadelphia to a 5-3 win over Columbus on Jan. 19, 2010 in the clubs' only meeting last season.

Big story -- The Flyers are coming off their most offensive game of the young season with a 5-2 win over Toronto on Saturday. Philadelphia hopes to maintain its scoring touch as they visit Columbus. The Jackets have their own momentum that they hope to carry into Monday's game as they are riding the high of defeating the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, 3-2, on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- Philadelphia was desperate for some sort of offense Saturday night as it entered its game against Toronto ranked 28th in the NHL for goals-per-game at an average of 2.17. However, Mike Richards and Ville Leino provided an instant spark with two quick goals in the first to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead entering the second period. Blair Betts, Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere provided more than enough insurance with goals of their own later in the game as Philly cruised to victory.

After the game, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette acknowledged the importance of veterans like team captain Mike Richards providing the inspiration for the offensive explosion.

"When you're in a situation where you're team is facing that adversity, you need your leaders and top players to step up and have a good game," Laviolette said.

Blue Jackets -- Columbus was in search of a rebound game Saturday after getting blown out by the Flames, 6-2, on Friday. The Jackets got exactly what they were looking for with two goals in the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit and defeat the rival Blackhawks. Antoine Vermette provided the game-winning goal on a tip-in at 6:29 in the third period.

"The fact we had a bad game in the first of back-to-back games kind of set this up as a big one," Vermette said. "We wanted to come up with a strong effort."

Who's hot -- Briere has three goals over his last four games for the Flyers. For Columbus, Vermette has notched a goal and two assists over his last three games.

Injury report -- The Flyers are expected to have a fully healthy lineup. The Jackets have been without defenseman Kris Russell (lower-body injury) since Oct. 16. Defenseman Mike Commodore (hand) and forwards Andrew Murray (knee), Jared Boll (back) and Ethan Moreau (hand) remain on injured reserve for Columbus.

Stat pack -- Three appears to be the magic number for Columbus as it has tallied three goals apiece in all of its four wins this season.

Puck drop -- "It is obviously something that kind of weighs on you mentally. I just felt that if I shoot the puck it is going to go in eventually and that's what happened." -- Mike Richards after notching his first goal of the season on Saturday
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