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Game Preview #20 - Right Back At It In Philly

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The Jackets are back in action for the second night in a row, and the second time in Philadelphia in eight days.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers

November 22, 2014 - 7:00 pm EST
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Broad Street Hockey

Here's the good news, I guess: this Flyers club has lost four in a row. They are just two points in front of Columbus. They're in a spiral not unlike the one Columbus was in not too long ago. They are struggling. Ron Hextall called them out after a recent loss to New York.

Here's the other potentially good news: the Jackets, despite a pretty sucky lapse of about 10 minutes in the third period last night, played pretty well against a tough Boston team. As they continue to get more and more healthy, the hope is that the good effort becomes more the norm and those lapses come fewer and further between. Despite the outcome, the Jackets last night looked light years better than they were playing the last time they came into Philly... and won.

When you look at the Flyers' numbers from before last Friday's game and today, they are down in almost all categories. The four stat lines I track in these previews show the Flyers to be worse in both offense and defense, and worse on both sides of special teams. Four game losing streaks will do that to you.

Of note most especially is their defensive effort. They've slid below the three goals-allowed per game threshold (hello, welcome to our underground lair!) and their PK has cratered to 30th in the league. Again, the Jackets can't boast much in either of those categories themselves, but Philly has really hit some kind of wall.

Last week's game was a Power Play Goal fest. The teams combined to go five of seven on the Power Play. The Jackets' saving grace during their struggles has been the Power Play, though they haven't scored in either of the last two games on the man advantage. Did I mention Philly's PK has sunk to 30th? Columbus scored three times last Friday up a man, and so a good way to stake a lead in this one would be to capitalize on those chances again.

No morning skate today on the back-to-back, so the lineup is speculation based on last night (and maybe a little wishful thinking on that fourth line for me...).

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(6-11-2, 14 Points; 8th division, 15th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell Artem Anisimov Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Alexander Wennberg Jack Skille
Brian Gibbons Adam Cracknell Corey Tropp
Jack Johnson Dalton Prout
Jordan Leopold David Savard
Tim Erixon James Wisniewski
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Philadelphia Flyers
(7-9-2, 16 Points; 6th division, 13th conference)

Brayden Schenn Claude Giroux Jakub Voracek
Matt Read Sean Couturier Wayne Simmonds
R.J. Umberger Scott Laughton Vincent Lecavalier
Zac Rinaldo Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Michael Del Zotto
Nicklas Grossmann Mark Streit
Luke Schenn Andrew MacDonald
Nick Schultz Braydon Coburn
Steve Mason
Ray Emery

Season Series

11/14/14 - Columbus 4 at Philadelphia 3
11/22/14 - Columbus at Philadelphia
12/09/14 - Philadelphia at Columbus
02/13/15 - Philadelphia at Columbus
02/17/15 - Columbus at Philadelphia

Head to Head Stats

Philadelphia Columbus
2.94 (7) GPG 2.47 (22)
3.11 (26) GAPG 3.53 (30)
23.4% (4) PP% 23.0% (6)
72.1% (30) PK% 75.4% (24)
Wayne Simmonds / Jakub Voracek, 7 G leader Nick Foligno, 10
Jakub Voracek, 20 A leader Ryan Johansen, 16
Jakub Voracek, 27 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 23
Zac Rinaldo, 20 PIM leader Jared Boll, 30
5-3-2 Home/Road 3-5-1
11/20 vs. Minnesota, L 3-2 Last Game 11/21 vs. Boston, L 4-3 (SO)
4-6-0 Last 10 2-6-2