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Flyers try to bounce back against Jackets

by Adam Kimelman

BLUE JACKETS (2-10-1) at FLYERS (7-4-2)


Last 10: Columbus 2-7-1; Philadelphia 4-4-2

Season Series: This is the only time this season these teams will play. In their last meeting, Derrick Brassard and Kyle Wilson each had a goal in 2-1 Blue Jackets win in Columbus on Oct. 25, 2010.

Big Story: The Flyers, who lost 4-3 to New Jersey in a shootout on Thursday, will try to head into a four-day break on a winning note, while the Blue Jackets hope their one road trip in a six-game stretch is a positive one.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: Columbus coach Scott Arniel says he's sticking with Steve Mason as his No. 1 goaltender.

Mason is 2-9-1 with a 3.36 goals-against average, .880 save percentage and allowed four goals on 11 shots in just over 25 minutes of action Thursday against Toronto, but the coach told the Columbus Dispatch that he believes Mason, rather than rookie backup Allen York -- who stopped all seven shots he faced in relief of Mason -- gives the team the best chance at winning right now.

"It's all about what's going to give us the best chance to win in Philadelphia," Arniel said. "Does Steve give that to us? I'd like to think he does, over a kid that's got one and a half games of NHL experience (York).

"I know most people would probably say, 'Give it to the kid,' but that's the first time, last night, where Mase (Mason) has really been responsible for a loss. … Other players at times haven't been very good this year and have had the opportunity to go back in and play. Mase deserves an opportunity."

Mason said he's looking forward to getting back on the ice so soon.

"It wasn't good," he said of Saturday's game. "You move on."

Flyers: Jakub Voracek is trying to treat this game like any other he'll play this season, but did admit he has something to prove against his former team.

"I was pretty excited for this game since the season started," he told reporters Friday. "It's going to be a great game. Hope it's going to end well for us. … It's another NHL game for me and I'm going to try to do my best, as always, hopefully help the team win and show them they made a mistake."

Voracek came to the Flyers as part of the June blockbuster trade that sent All-Star center Jeff Carter to Columbus. It was a shock to Voracek, who had been taken with the seventh pick of the 2007 NHL Draft and spent three seasons with the Blue Jackets.

He didn't leave with the best of feelings, however, as Arniel publicly criticized Voracek's conditioning following their season-ending exit meeting.

"I had three great years in Columbus," he said. "I can't say bad things about them. That's the first team I got into the NHL with, played three years there -- the memories are there. Also I was kind of upset and sad that things were said about me after last season, but it is what it is. Right now I'm with a new organization, one of the best organizations in the NHL. It's a fresh start for me and I'm excited."

Who's Hot: Vinny Prospal landed in Columbus only because of an injury to Kristian Huselius, but he's rewarded the Blue Jackets with team-highs of five goals and 10 points in his first 13 games. … Flyers forward Scott Hartnell had a five-game point-scoring streak snapped Thursday against New Jersey, but was 5-5-10 during the streak.

Injury Report: Blue Jackets forwards Jared Boll (thumb) and Huselius (pectoral/hip) skated with the team Friday but are not close to returning. Defenseman James Wisniewski and forward Derek Dorsett skipped practice for what Arniel called a maintenance day. Both traveled with the team to Philadelphia and could play Saturday. Carter, seemingly a fixture in Philadelphia before the trade, will miss his only chance to play at the Wells Fargo Center this season due to a broken foot. … Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger will miss at least Saturday's game while recovering from an injury to his right eye, but could be back as soon as Wednesday's game in Tampa Bay. Forwards James van Riemsdyk (lower body) and Matt Read (upper body) didn't play Thursday and are questionable for Saturday.

Stat Pack: Mason has had an odd last few weeks. Four times in his last six starts he's given up four goals. The other two starts he allowed just one goal -- those are the Jackets' only two wins this season.

Puck Drop: Much was made over a report in the Philadelphia Daily News regarding why van Riemsdyk missed Thursday's game against New Jersey. Van Riemsdyk took a hard hit late in Wednesday's game against Buffalo, but told reporters after the game that he felt fine.

However, he was scratched from the lineup Thursday night after taking the pre-game warmup, with the newspaper citing a source who said coach Peter Laviolette was "highly critical" of van Riemsdyk's recent play.

On Friday, GM Paul Holmgren said the reason van Riemsdyk sat out Thursday was due to a lower-body injury. Holmgren said it wasn't necessarily the hit in the Buffalo game that caused the injury, but that it might have aggravated a nagging problem.

When asked about the newspaper report, Holmgren said there was no problem between coach and player.

"He didn't play because he was injured," Holmgren told reporters.

Later Friday, the team recalled forward Eric Wellwood from the AHL Adirondack Phantoms, meaning van Riemsdyk might not be able to play Saturday, as well.

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