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Preview: Flyers at Blue Jackets

Philadelphia six points out of wild card; Columbus reaching for second in Metropolitan

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

FLYERS (34-31-8) at BLUE JACKETS (47-19-7)

2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, FS-O, CSN-PH, NHL.TV


Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers are six points behind the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with nine games left. Michal Neuvirth will start in goal after Steve Mason played the previous seven games, including a 3-1 win at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Coach Dave Hakstol said there were two reasons for giving Mason the day off."It's a good opportunity for him to get reset and get some detail," he said "But also we need a great performance from [Neuvirth]. We need both these guys going. It's at critical points every night. It's about winning a game today and [Neuvirth] is the guy that's got to go in and do a great job for his team." This is the first game of Philadelphia's 16th back-to-back set; the Flyers are 9-6-0 in the first game and visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday


Blue Jackets team scope

Columbus is three points behind the Washington Capitals and two behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets have lost two straight, including 2-1 in a shootout at the Capitals on Thursday, after a four-game winning streak. Columbus has not lost three in a row this season. "It's managing the puck and giving ourselves a chance to forecheck," coach John Tortorella said. "We didn't spend enough time in our [offensive] zone. We didn't get pucks in when we needed to." The Blue Jackets are 12-3-0 against the Flyers, including 2-0-0 this season, since a 9-2 loss on Nov. 5, 2011. The Flyers are 0-4-5 at Nationwide Arena since Dec. 13, 2005, their longest active road losing streak against any opponent.


Flyers projected lineup

Matt Read -- Claude Giroux -- Jakub Voracek

Jordan Weal -- Valtteri Filppula -- Wayne Simmonds

Brayden Schenn -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Travis Konecny

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Nick Schultz -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Scratched: Roman Lyubimov, Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Michael Raffl (lower body), Nick Cousins (upper body)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Nick Foligno -- Alexander Wennberg -- Brandon Saad

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Kyle Quincey -- Scott Harrington

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Lauri Korpikoski, Markus Nutivaara

Injured: Ryan Murray (hand), Oliver Bjorkstrand (undisclosed)


Status report

Bjorkstrand did not play Thursday after being boarded by Roman Polak of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.


Who's hot

Weise has four points (two goals, two assists) in the past five games. … Read has scored in two straight games. … Couturier has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games. … Schenn has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past six games. … Werenski has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past eight games. … Bobrovsky is 8-0-2 in his past 10 starts.

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