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Flyers try to end Blue Jackets' winning streak

by Adam Kimelman

FLYERS (25-20-6) at BLUE JACKETS (25-20-4)


Last 10: Philadelphia 5-3-2; Columbus 8-2-0

Season series: It's the third of four games between the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets. They split a home-and-home set in December, with the Flyers rallying for a 5-4 victory in Philadelphia on Dec. 19, and the Blue Jackets winning 6-3 two nights later in Columbus.

Big story: The Blue Jackets' club-record seven-game winning streak gives them a chance to leap the Flyers and take third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Blue Jackets have only been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs once before, in 2008-09. They're not ready to start booking postseason travel yet, but the players are having a good time right now.

"It's special," forward R.J. Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch. "We don't really want to get caught up in it, but it shows the direction this club is going, this organization. There have been some hard moments here. But this says a lot. The fans enjoy it and deserve it, but I think we've got a lot more in us. We're not satisfied."

Team Scope:

Flyers: Sometimes too much rest can be a bad thing. That's what the Flyers felt after their 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.

A snowstorm that blanketed the Philadelphia region forced the postponement of their game against the Hurricanes for 24 hours, meaning their only ice time since the weekend had been their game Monday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Rather than be fresh Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Flyers came out slugging, had three shots on goal in the first period and trailed 2-0 en route to a 3-2 loss.

"I think we weren't mentally there and our legs weren't there," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "At the end of the day we need to get it done. We need to make the plays that are there and we didn't do that."

Coach Craig Berube said his team's lack of energy early was more mental than physical.

"I'm not making any excuses because it was what it was with the weather and everything," he said. "But you've got to have a lot more energy than that. ... It's mental in my opinion. You've got to get through it."

Blue Jackets: One of the reasons behind the Blue Jackets' recent success has been an offensive outburst that has seen them outscore the opposition 30-15 during their win streak.

"A couple years ago, it was a struggle to get one or two goals," defenseman James Wisniewski told the Columbus Dispatch. "We're still playing the right way. Our way. But we've got a room full of guys who believe right now."

Umberger, who has been with the Blue Jackets since the 2007-08 season, said there's a confidence offensively that he hasn't seen from his team in previous years.

"Not since I've been here," he told the Dispatch. "Since when have we had three power-play lines that could be dangerous at any moment?

"It's there. You can feel it. The guys are comfortable and confident. There's a sense that good things are going to happen if we play the right way and go hard."

Who's hot: Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds has two goals and six assists during his five-game point streak. ... In six January games, Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is 6-0-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.

Injury report: Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo (ankle) is out. ... Blue Jackets forwards Jared Boll (foot) and Marian Gaborik (collarbone) are out. Forward Blake Comeau (lower body) is questionable.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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