Flyers-Blue Jackets: Game 58 Preview

While the Flyers have been playing superbly since their 10-game losing streak, that mileage has certainly varied for other teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Columbus Blue Jackets, a team many thought would be a contender this season, find themselves on the outside looking in (just by a point), and have won just three out of their last 10 games — a stretch that also includes a five-game losing streak.

It's the second meeting between both teams this season, and a chance for the Flyers to make some ground up after a shootout loss to New Jersey on Tuesday. One thing the Flyers should be prepare for? A lot of shots to the net. With a staggering 57 shots on net on Wednesday (a 6-3 loss to Toronto), the Blue Jackets became the first team since 1967-68 to record three consecutive games of 50 or more shots. John Tortorella's getting simplistic these days, having his team throw everything but the kitchen sink on net.

The game is also a chance for the Flyers to exorcise one of the weirdest demons in the NHL. The Orange and Black have not won at Nationwide Arena since December 2005, amassing a 0-5-6 record along the way. It's a building they've only won in twice — for perspective, they have as many ties there as they do wins. Not something you see every day in the NHL, but a weird stat nonetheless.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Columbus Blue Jackets GP G A P
Claude Giroux 57 19 47 66 Artemi Panarin 57 15 31 46
Jake Voracek 57 11 54 65 Seth Jones 57 8 28 36
Sean Couturier  57 28 29 57 Oliver Bjorkstrand 57 10 22 32
Shayne Gostisbehere 53 10 34 44 Josh Anderson 55 17 11 28
Wayne Simmonds 57 19 16 35 Pierre-Luc Dubois 57 13 14 27
Player to Watch
53 Shayne Gostisbehere 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 8 A, 8 P, +4 Last 5 Games: 2 G, 3 A, 5 P, +3
 
With a two-assist game on Tuesday, Shayne Gostisbehere surpassed his total from last season. With another multi-point effort — and it's not out of the realm of possibility, as he has three in his last five games — Gostisbehere could set a new career high.
 
While he's not exactly one of the most exciting names on the Blue Jackets roster, Oliver Bjorkstrand has been finding ways to produce lately. He enters tonight's game with a three-game point streak, and he's recorded multiple points in two of those games. This will be Bjorkstrand's fifth career game against the Flyers, and he has two assists so far.
 
Goalie Matchup
30 Michal Neuvirth 72 Sergei Bobrovsky
7-7-3, 2.58 GAA, .915 SV% 10-7-2, 3.29 GAA, .892 SV%

Making his third consecutive start, Michal Neuvirth will look to get the Flyers back in the win column after they blew a two-goal lead on Tuesday. He let up a goal in the 2nd period to Taylor Hall that he'd surely like to forget, which didn't help matters. He'll be getting the bulk of the starts after Brian Elliott's lengthy injury, and he'll need to put games like that behind him. Tonight's his first chance to do so.

You'll probably be seeing his name strewn all over Twitter tonight, so I'm just going to come out and say it right here and set the record straight: Sergei Bobrovsky was not going to re-sign with the Flyers in 2012.

Bobrovsky's enduring a bit of a down year this season, though not quite as drastic as his rough 2015-16 season. Regardless, the two-time (and reigning) Vezina Trophy winner always gives the Blue Jackets a chance to win, especially against his former team. He's posted a 9-2-0 record against them, with a dominant 1.79 goals allowed average and .939 save percentage. Snapping that Columbus drought will come at a premium.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Brian Elliott 

Scratches: Taylor Leier, Mark Alt

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 11 Travis Konecny
93 Jake Voracek 19 Nolan Patrick 17 Wayne Simmonds
40 Jordan Weal 21 Scott Laughton 12 Michael Raffl
15 Jori Lehtera 51 Valtteri Filppula 22 Dale Weise
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
8 Robert Hagg 47 Andrew MacDonald  
23 Brandon Manning 3 Radko Gudas  
Goalie    
30 Michal Neuvirth    

Lineup Notes: Not too much change from their lineup on Tuesday, though Jordan Weal and Michael Raffl will swap wings on the third line.

Blue Jackets Projected Lineup

Injuries: Brian Boyle has an undetermined injury and is out tonight. Brian Gibbons will miss four weeks with a broken right thumb. Marcus Johansson is out with a concussion and his timetable to return is unknown. John Quenneville has an unspecified injury and is out for tonight's game. Cory Schneider has a groin injury and will miss seven to 10 days.

 
Left Wing Center Right Wing
9 Artemi Panarin 18 Pierre-Luc Dubois 13 Cam Atkinson
71 Nick Foligno 10 Alexander Wennberg 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
38 Boone Jenner 17 Brandon Dubinsky 77 Josh Anderson
36 Matt Calvert 45 Lukas Sedlak 36 Jussi Jokinen
Defense    
8 Zach Werenski 3 Seth Jones  
7 Jack Johnson 65 Markus Nutivaara  
46 Dean Kukan 58 David Savard  
Goalie    
72 Sergei Bobrovsky    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (8th, 2nd on road), Blue Jackets (31st, 26th at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (29th, 25th on road), Blue Jackets (27th, 14th at home)
  • Recent History vs. Blue Jackets
    • Dec. 23, 2017 – Blue Jackets 2, Flyers 1 – F/OT (at CBJ)
    • April 8, 2017 – Flyers 4, Blue Jackets 2 (at PHI)
    • March 25, 2017 – Blue Jackets 1, Flyers 0 (at CBJ)
    • March 13, 2017 – Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 3 (at PHI)
  • Milestone Watch
    • Claude Giroux is one goal away from 200.
    • Sean Couturier is two goals away from 100.
    • Shayne Gostisbehere is five assists away from 100.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic