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Flyers-Blue Jackets: Game 61 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

With a key win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, the Flyers made the jump from the final wildcard spot to third place in the Metropolitan Division. They retained the spot on a day off on Wednesday, as the Islanders lost to Colorado. 

Just as they did with Florida a week ago, the Flyers have a chance to create some separation with Columbus when they face each other again on Thursday night, as the Flyers look to complete a season sweep of the Blue Jackets on the road.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Columbus Blue Jackets GP G A P
Sean Couturier 60 18 35 53 Pierre-Luc Dubois 61 17 27 44
Travis Konecny 57 20 31 51 Gustav Nyquist 61 12 25 37
Claude Giroux 60 16 30 46 Zach Werenski 54 18 18 36
Jake Voracek 60 12 33 45 Oliver Bjorkstrand 48 20 14 34
James van Riemsdyk  60 18 20 38 Seth Jones 56 6 24 30
 
Player to Watch
11 Travis Konecny 8 Zach Werenski
Last 5 Games: 2 G, 3 A, 5 P, +2 Last 5 Games: 1 G, 2 A, 3 P, -3
 
Travis Konecny picked up three points in Tuesday's game to set a new career high with 51 points on the season in just 57 games played. Konecny has points in three of the last four games, including two goals to reach the 20-goal mark for the third straight season.
 
Zach Werenski has had to carry a large part of the defensive play with Seth Jones out with injury. Werenski is a great offensive talent and can change a game with his abilities, but it has been a struggle for Columbus to put up points with so many players out of the lineup.
 
Projected Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 90 Elvis Merzlikins
29 GP, 14-7-4, 2.90 GAA, .898 SV% 29 GP, 12-9-6, 2.29 GAA, .924 SV%

Brian Elliott will be in goal for the Flyers on Thursday, making his third start of the season against the Blue Jackets. Elliott's last game was a 5-3 loss to the Islanders on Feb. 11, allowing four goals on 24 shots. He allowed four goals on 26 shots in the Flyers 7-4 win over Columbus on Oct. 26 and allowed two goals on 30 shots in a 3-2 win over Columbus on Nov. 27.

Elvis Merzlikins gets back in goal after a rough night on Tuesday. He allowed four goals on 12 shots before being pulled during the third period. Merzlikins is currently on a five-game personal losing streak amid Columbus' six-game losing streak.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Justin Braun (flu, day-to-day, Nolan Patrick (migrane disorder, out indefinitely), Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma, out for season)

Scratches: Shayne Gostisbehere

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
49 Joel Farabee 13 Kevin Hayes 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk 21 Scott Laughton 18 Tyler Pitlick
12 Michael Raffl 82 Connor Bunnaman 62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 15 Matt Niskanen  
6 Travis Sanheim 5 Phil Myers  
8 Robert Hagg 59 Mark Friedman  
Goalie    
37 Brian Elliott 79 Carter Hart  

Lineup Notes

Mark Friedman enters the lineup for Thursday's game. Justin Braun is out with the flu and Shayne Gostisbehere was assigned to Lehigh Valley for a conditioning stint. 

Blue Jackets Projected Lineup

Injuries: Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Joonas Korpisalo, Ryan Murray, Alexander Wennberg, Alexandre Texier, Dean Kukan

Scratches: Gabriel Carlsson, Sonny Milano

Left Wing Center Right Wing
71 Nick Foligno 18 Pierre-Luc Dubois 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
14 Gustav Nyquist 11 Kevin Stenlund 52 Emil Bemstrom
23 Stefan Matteau 38 Boone Jenner 24 Nathan Gerbe
15 Jakob Lilja 20 Riley Nash 50 Eric Robinson
Defense    
8 Zach Werenski 65 Markus Nutivaara  
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 58 David Savard  
4 Scott Harrington 2 Andrew Peeke  
Goalie    
90 Elvis Merzlikins 80 Matiss Kivlenieks  

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (16th), Blue Jackets (T-23rd)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (11th), Blue Jackets (9th)
  • Recent History vs. Blue Jackets
    • Oct. 26, 2019 - Flyers 7, Blue Jackets 4 (at PHI)
    • Nov. 27, 2019 - Flyers 3, Blue Jackets 2 (at CBJ)
    • Feb. 18, 2020 - Flyers 5, Blue Jackets 1 (at PHI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Blue Jackets
    • Claude Giroux - 32 GP, 10 G, 22 A, 32 P
    • Travis Konecny - 14 GP, 5 G, 10 A, 15 P
    • James van Riemsdyk - 22 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 P
    • Jake Voracek - 28 GP, 8 G, 15 A, 23 P
    • Brian Elliott - 14 GP, 8-3-3, 2.49 GAA, .911 SV%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Scott Laughton needs three points to reach 100 for his career.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 93.3 WMMR

YWT: The Philadelphia Flyers Podcast

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