For nearly half of the 2023-24 NHL season, the Flyers have far exceeded expectations and been able to deliver results with consistency. The annual Disney on Ice road trip out of the holiday break brought about potential issues with the team’s surprise push for the playoffs.
The Flyers return home on Thursday night with three straight losses and a 1-3-2 record in their last six games, enough to knock them from second in the Metropolitan Division to fourth. Perhaps some home cooking is just what the doctor ordered for the battered, beaten, and bruised Flyers. Thursday marks the opener of a four-game homestand and the first game in a stretch of 12 of the next 17 games being played at Wells Fargo Center.
Meanwhile, the Flyers welcome in the Columbus Blue Jackets, still last in the Metropolitan Division, but giving other opponents all they can handle. The Blue Jackets have earned points in five of the last seven games.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Joel Farabee was promoted to the top line in the last game and delivered, helping on both goals in the loss to Edmonton. That marked his third multi-point game in the last five games. Farabee also has nine points in the last 10 games.
Adam Fantilli continues to heat up for Columbus. He had a four-game points streak snapped in his last game and has seven points in the previous seven games that included the four-game streak. He has three goals and four assists in that time.
Carter Hart is expected to get the start for the Flyers. Hart was on the hook for the loss in Edmonton, allowing five goals on 36 shots. Hart’s last win came on Dec. 9, when he made 36 saves on 38 shots in a win over Colorado.
Daniil Tarasov gets the start for Columbus. Tarasov makes just his fifth start of the season after making his season debut on Dec. 16. He allowed three goals on 42 shots in his last start, an overtime loss against Buffalo on Saturday. He has allowed three goals or more in each of his four starts this season.
Flyers Scratches: Noah Cates (injury), Marc Staal (healthy), Rhett Gardner (healthy)
Blue Jackets Scratches: Zach Werenski (injury), Patrik Laine (injury), Sean Kuraly (injury), Boone Jenner (injury), Adam Boqvist (injury), Nick Blankenburg (injury), Brendan Gaunce (healthy), Andrew Peeke (healthy), Elvis Merzlikins (healthy)