Flyers vs. Blue Jackets: Game 81 Preview

Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Kirill Marchenko (86) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Owen Tippett (74) battle for the puck during the second period at Wells Fargo Center.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The final two games of the Flyers season are upon us. The first, on Tuesday night, will be their home finale. The next, on Thursday, will come on the road to close out the 2022-23 season.

Tuesday night’s opponent has three games remaining on the season, and the stakes are a bit higher. The Columbus Blue Jackets could be locked into one of the bottom-three spots in the standings with another defeat, currently tied with Chicago – who happens to be the Flyers other opponent this week – for the highest draft lottery odds.

Game time is at 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia FlyersGPGAPColumbus Blue Jackets GPGAP
Travis Konecny58292756Johnny Gaudreau77195271
Kevin Hayes79183654Patrik Laine55223052
Owen Tippett75242145Boone Jenner68261945
Morgan Frost79192443Jack Roslovic74113344
Scott Laughton76182442Kent Johnson76162440

Players to Watch

Since scoring two goals in back-to-back games upon his return to the lineup, Travis Konecny has been held without a point in each of the last four games. Still a goal shy of the first 30-goal season of his career, look for him to try to finish the season on a high note.

Johnny Gaudreau has gone six straight games without a goal and has just two assists in that time. The free-agent prize of last offseason put up solid numbers with 19 goals and 71 points in 77 games, but was left without much support as Columbus was decimated with injuries. In three games against the Flyers, he scored a goal and had four assists. 

Goalie Matchup

Carter Hart is expected to start for the Flyers. Hart made 15 saves on 18 shots in his last start before exiting after the second period against the Islanders on Saturday. Hart has faced the Blue Jackets three times this season, making 24 saves on 27 shots in a loss on Nov. 10, falling in overtime on Nov. 15 allowing five goals on 33 shots, and picking up a win on Dec. 20 making 30 saves on 33 shots.

Michael Hutchinson is expected to get the start for Columbus. Hutchinson last started on Saturday, making 24 saves on 28 shots in a loss to the Rangers. Hutchinson is on a personal five-game losing streak in his last five starts, dating back to his last and only win of the season on March 24.

Projected Lineups

Flyers Lines

Flyers Scratches: Nick Seeler (illness), Tony DeAngelo (healthy), Kieffer Bellows (healthy)

Blue Jackets Lines

Blue Jackets Scratches: Patrik Laine (injury), Nick Blankenburg (injury), Mathieu Olivier (injury), Erik Gudbranson (injury), Elvis Merzlikins (injury), Jake Bean (injury), Lane Pederson (injury)

Lineup Notes

  • Flyers: Adam Ginning was called up from the Phantoms and will make his NHL debut. There is also a chance that Nick Seeler could return from illness after missing Sunday’s game. No other changes are expected.
  • Blue Jackets: Columbus made multiple call-ups from the AHL to fill out the lineup. Eric Robinson may miss the game due to injury after leaving the team’s last game early following a collision.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (32nd), Blue Jackets (26th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (26th), Blue Jackets (23rd)
  • Recent History vs. Blue Jackets
    • Dec. 20, 2022 – Flyers 5, Blue Jackets 3 (at PHI)
    • Nov. 15, 2022 – Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 4 (F/OT) (at CBJ)
    • Nov. 10, 2022 – Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 2 (at CBJ)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Blue Jackets
    • James van Riemsdyk: 27 GP, 11 G, 10 A, 21 P
    • Travis Konecny: 21 GP, 10 G, 14 A, 24 P
    • Kevin Hayes: 27 GP, 9 G, 15 A, 24 P
    • Ivan Provorov: 22 GP, 2 G, 10 A, 12 P
    • Carter Hart: 7 GP, 2-4-1, 3.04 GAA, .894 SV%
  • Milestone Watch
    • James van Riemsdyk needs one goal to reach 300 for his career.
    • Justin Braun needs one point to reach 200 for his career.
    • Tony DeAngelo needs one point to reach 200 for his career.
    • Scott Laughton needs two points to reach 200 for his career.
    • Nick Deslauriers needs three points to reach 100 for his career.

Where to Watch

  • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • Radio: Flyers Broadcast Network
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