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Flyers hope to regain playoff position

Need point(s) against Blue Jackets, help from Lightning

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

FLYERS (35-24-12) at BLUE JACKETS (29-35-8)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, FS-O, NHL.TV

COLUMBUS -- The Philadelphia Flyers can move back into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with at least one point against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena.

The Flyers begin Tuesday one point behind the Detroit Red Wings and hold a game in hand. The Red Wings play at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.


Goaltender Steve Mason will start for the Flyers. The former Blue Jackets player made 23 saves in a 4-1 win at the New York Islanders on Monday that moved Philadelphia to within a point of the Red Wings and three points back of the Islanders for the first wild card.

"He's able to do it. No concerns," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "Obviously it's not easy. We got in at 2 o'clock in the morning but he's ready to go in and do a good job."

Goalie Michal Neuvirth is out with a lower-body injury, so the other option was Anthony Stolarz making his NHL debut in a building where the Flyers have lost seven straight games since Dec. 13, 2005.

The Blue Jackets will be rested and ready even if they are not at full strength. They are looking to avenge a 6-0 loss in Philadelphia on March 5.

Forward Nick Foligno will be a game-time decision for the Blue Jackets because of illness but center Alexander Wennberg returns from a lower-body injury that forced him to miss the 2-1 loss at the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

Also, No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will play after sitting Sunday in favor of rookie Joonas Korpisalo.

"When we went into [the Flyers'] building they embarrassed us," Columbus left wing Brandon Saad said. "We're home now so we need to play well against a team that's doing very well right now."

A Blue Jackets' regulation loss and a Detroit win at Tampa Bay would eliminate Columbus from the postseason race.

Columbus coach John Tortorella doesn't embrace the role of spoiler as much as trying to get the Blue Jackets to finish strong.

"They're a good team and they're playing very well right now. Do I want to beat them? Yeah," he said of the Flyers. "As far as the spoiler role, not so much. Do you want to be one of those teams that teams rolls over as they get in the playoffs? No.

"I don't think we were bad," Tortorella said. "We didn't create enough offense but as I watched the tape yesterday, we were sloppy in the game. If we're sloppy like that tonight against a team playing its best hockey, then we're in trouble."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Sam Gagner

Jakub Voracek - Nick Cousins - Matt Read

Scott Laughton - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Anthony Stolarz

Injured: Michal Neuvirth (lower body), Michael Del Zotto (wrist)

Scratched: R.J. Umberger, Evgeny Medvedev, Jordan Weal, Chris VandeVelde


Brandon Saad - Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno

Matt Calvert - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Gregory Campbell - Michael Chaput - William Karlsson

Ryan Murray - Dalton Prout

Fedor Tyutin - Seth Jones

David Savard - Cody Goloubef

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Rene Bourque, Justin Falk, Jared Boll

Injured: Jack Johnson (shoulder), David Clarkson (back), Curtis McElhinney (knee)

Status report: Hakstol said putting VandeVelde back into the lineup will be a game-time decision. VandeVelde was suspended two games for an elbow to Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews. "We'll dress 13 forwards for warm-ups," Hakstol said. "We've got tough decisions, really, all the way through the lineup, particularly at that spot. This time of the year, especially on back-to-backs it's a tough decision. It's a positive for our team that we do have to make a tough decision."

Who's hot: Atkinson has six goals and eight points in the past nine games and is tied with Jenner for the Blue Jackets with 25 goals, career highs for each. Columbus is 8-for-8 on the penalty kill vs. the Flyers this season. … Raffl has four goals and six assists in nine games. Schenn has nine goals and 10 assists in 17 games.

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