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Game Preview #77 - Still There For The Taking?

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The Jackets are probably more focused on hanging on to a Wild Card, but let's not ignore that this game still has some significance in the Metro.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers

April 3, 2014 - 7:00 pm EDT
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Broad Street Hockey
SBN's Flyers vs Blue Jackets coverage

This game looked like it would be a huge one in the standings even just a week or two ago. Philly's stellar run of late combined with the Jackets faltering a bit have taken some of that starch out, but if you look at the math of it all, a regulation win for Columbus still leaves the door open for the Jackets to try to swoop in and steal that third spot in the standings. It would take some help, for sure, and step one would be to win tonight.

But for a complete third period meltdown the last time these teams played in Philly back in December, the Jackets would be going for the season sweep. And, the previous three games between these clubs have been--how you say--flush with goals: 25 goals total scored in the first three meetings. It will be interesting to see if the clubs can clamp down on defense.

Tonight also marks the first official meeting between Sergei Bobrovsky and Steve Mason, as the former was injured during that December game and the latter was able to effectively duck a return trip to Columbus as he was the backup in both games. Mason has been OK since the Olympic break, stopping 91% of the shots he'd faced. He's had a shutout, but has also given up four goals four times since then as well. Hopefully the Jackets can get to him early and rattle that world famous confidence of his.

For the Jackets, R.J. Umberger looks to draw back in, most likely for Corey Tropp. Also out is Nikita Nikitin, who will be replaced by either Nick Schultz or Tim Erixon. My guess below is that Schultz gets in. We shall see.

Whether the Metro is still even an attainable goal is a matter of debate and math. What isn't is that the Jackets simply have to have two points. Getting them in regulation would be even sweeter.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(38-30-7, 83 Points; 4th division, 8th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Mark Letestu
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Artem Anisimov R.J. Umberger
Blake Comeau Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Jack Johnson Dalton Prout
Fedor Tyutin James Wisniewski
Nick Schultz David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Philadelphia Flyers
(39-27-9, 87 Points; 3rd division, 6th conference)

Scott Hartnell Claude Giroux Jakub Voracek
Tye McGinn Brayden Schenn Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read Sean Couturier Michael Raffl
Zac Rinaldo Vincent Lecavalier Adam Hall
Braydon Coburn Kimmo Timonen
Mark Streit Nicklas Grossmann
Andrew MacDonald Luke Schenn
Steve Mason
Ray Emery

Season Series

12/19/13 - Columbus 4 at Philadelphia 5
12/21/13 - Philadelphia 3 at Columbus 6
01/23/14 - Philadelphia 2 at Columbus 5
04/03/14 - Columbus at Philadelphia

Head to Head Stats

Philadelphia Columbus
2.80 (11) GPG 2.73 (14)
2.72 (16) GAPG 2.68 (14)
19.4% (10) PP% 17.6% (17)
85.0% (5) PK% 81.8% (16)
Claude Giroux / Wayne Simmonds, 25 G leader Ryan Johansen, 30
Claude Giroux, 53 A leader James Wisniewski, 38
Claude Giroux, 78 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 55
Zac Rinaldo, 137 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky / Nick Foligno, 94
23-13-2 Home/Road 18-16-3
4/1 @ St. Louis, L 1-0 (SO) Last Game 4/1 vs. Colorado, L 3-2 (OT)
6-2-2 Last 10 4-4-2