Blue Jackets hold off Flyers, 5-3

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff 

Over the past few games, one of the Flyers' chief concerns has been an inability to play a full 60 minutes. Decent play for the first two periods, until a collapse in the 3rd.

Thursday's game was a bit of an exception to the rule, as the Flyers got off to (yet came close to recovering from) a sluggish start, one that saw them yield two goals in an 11-second span. Cam Atkinson also helped sink them with a hat trick, giving the Blue Jackets a tight 5-3 win.

Oliver Bjorkstrand got Columbus off to a quick start, opening the scoring at 9:41 of the 1st. Eleven seconds later, before anybody could really figure out what happened, Boone Jenner doubled the lead.

Not to be outdone, Claude Giroux took over and got the Flyers (35-25-11) on the board before any further damage could be done. He rang the pipe on a breakaway, but recovered to drill a sharp wrister through Sergei Bobrovsky. Before the period could end, Atkinson scored for the Blue Jackets, restoring their two-goal lead.

As the Flyers began the 2nd period with carryover power-play time, Shayne Gostisbehere found twine with a dart to bring them back within one. Atkinson scored his second of the game, though, just over three minutes later.

Following Atkinson's second of the game, the Flyers opted to pull Petr Mrazek in favor of Alex Lyon. It worked, and managed to stop the bleeding, as Lyon didn't allow a goal from there.

Andrew MacDonald brought the Orange and Black back within one at 12:23 of the second stanza with a big shot through traffic, and the Flyers were able to stay tight from there. It was his second point of the night, also earning an assist on Giroux's goal. It's his second multi-point effort of the season, and first since Jan. 6.

All through the 3rd period, the Flyers mounted heavy pressure, looking to crack Bobrovsky with 12 shots in the period. Ultimately, the Blue Jackets (38-28-5) held up, and Atkinson sealed his hat trick with .8 seconds left on the clock.

Bobrovsky's solid performance in the 3rd gave him 27 saves on the night. Mrazek made a paltry six saves on 10 shots, while Lyon turned away all 18 shots he faced. 

The loss sets the Flyers at a tie with the Blue Jackets, who won their seventh consecutive game. Ultimately, with 33 regulation and overtime wins, the Flyers have the tiebreaker.

The Flyers' quick stretch of divisional play continues Saturday, when they head to North Carolina to take on the Hurricanes.

Box Score

  1 2 3 T
Blue Jackets 3 1 2 3
Flyers 1 2 1 2

Scoring Summary

1st Period

  • CBJ Oliver Bjorkstrand (11) (Seth Jones, Sonny Milano) 9:41
  • CBJ Boone Jenner (9) (Jack Johnson, Thomas Vanek) 9:52
  • PHI Claude Giroux (26) (Travis Konecny, Andrew MacDonald) 1:34
  • CBJ Cam Atkinson (14) (Zach Werenski, Artemi Panarin) 18:08

2nd Period

  • PHI Shayne Gostisbehere (11) PPG (Ivan Provorov, Sean Couturier) :14
  • CBJ Atkinson 2 (David Savard) 3:23
  • PHI MacDonald (Travis Sanheim, Konecny) 12:23

3rd Period

  • CBJ Atkinson 3 (Panarin) ENG 19:59

Game Statistics

  Blue Jackets Flyers
Shots 29 30
Power Plays 0/1 1/3
Hits 19 23
Faceoff % 42% 58%
Giveaways 1 9
Takeaways 5 0
Blocked Shots 21 22
Penalty Minutes 6 2