Game Preview #50: Paint By Numbers - 1,000. 50. 8. 3rd. 2.

Kirk Irwin

It's a total confluence of events at Nationwide tonight, as Game #50 for the season is also Game #1000 for the franchise, the Jackets go for eight wins in a row, and two points separates these teams from the 3rd Metro playoff spot.

Philadelphia Flyers at Columbus Blue Jackets

January 23, 2014 - 7:00 pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Broad Street Hockey
SBN's Flyers vs Blue Jackets coverage

The Blue Jackets take the ice for the one thousandth time tonight. I will be there. I hope many of you are there as well. It should be pretty cool.

Likewise, they take the ice for the fiftieth time this season. And, as we get to the point in the season where watching the standings becomes a daily occurance, as fate would have it tonight's game has huge implications in the standings. The Flyers come in just two points ahead of Columbus, hanging on to the third Metro playoff spot. Given games played, a regulation win for the Jackets would put them ahead of Philly based on the tie-breaker.

It would also be the Jackets' eighth win in a row, which would continue their franchise record.

I remember after the first game between these two that many of us speculated about how that game might loom large in the spring. Those were two points that the Jackets might need at the end of the season. Granted, there are still a lot of games to go, but we may instead look back on that game as the turning point of the season. To wit, here's some more numbers-fun: since that implosion in Philly, the Jackets have gone 11-3-0. So, yeah, there's that, too.

The Jackets caught a mini-break in that the Flyers' game against Carolina got pushed to last night because of snow, which means now that tonight's game is a back-to-back for them. Also, they lost last night on a late goal. They didn't play well (and at least two of the goals scored against them involved Steve Mason's tricky missing high-glove coverage) throughout, and are scuffling a bit of late, with just two wins in their last seven games.

What have the Jackets done in their last seven games, I wonder? Oh, yeah. That's right.

One thing presumably missing--AGAIN--from tonight's game will be Steve Mason's "official" return to Nationwide, as (surprise surprise) Ray Emery gets the start. And, just because I feel like pointing it out, since December 7th, Mason has compiled a .891 save percentage on 470 shots. Have fun with that contract, Philly!

In the other crease, it's Sergei Bobrovsky's first game against his former club since being traded in the summer of 2012. Conversely to Mason, Bob has a save percentage of .938 in the six games he's played since coming back from his groin injury. Not coincidentally, the Jackets are 6-0-0 in those six games.

At any rate, enjoy the atmosphere tonight, as the puck drops for the 1,000th time in Blue Jackets' history!

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(25-20-4, 54 Points; 4th division, 8th conference)

Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen R.J. Umberger
Boone Jenner Artem Anisimov Nathan Horton
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Corey Tropp
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Philadelphia Flyers
(25-20-6, 56 Points; 3rd division, 7th conference)

Michael Raffl Claude Giroux Jakub Voracek
Scott Hartnell Brayden Schenn Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read Sean Couturier Vincent Lecavalier
Steve Downie Adam Hall Chris VandeVelde
Kimmo Timonen Braydon Coburn
Mark Streit Nicklas Grossmann
Luke Schenn Andrej Meszaros
Ray Emery
Steve Mason

Season Series

12/19/13 - Columbus 4 at Philadelphia 5
12/21/13 - Philadelphia 3 at Columbus 6
01/23/14 - Philadelphia at Columbus
04/03/14 - Columbus at Philadelphia

Head to Head Stats

Philadelphia Columbus
2.67 (17) GPG 2.84 (8)
2.78 (18) GAPG 2.80 (19)
18.5% (18) PP% 19.2% (13)
84.2% (6) PK% 80.2% (19)
Wayne Simmonds, 17 G leader Ryan Johansen, 19
Claude Giroux, 32 A leader James Wisniewski, 26
Claude Giroux, 46 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 37
Zac Rinaldo, 101 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 78
12-11-5 Road/Home 13-9-2
1/22 vs. Carolina, L 3-2 Last Game 1/21 vs. Los Angeles, W 5-3
5-3-2 Last 10 8-2-0
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