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Game Preview #35 - Flying High?

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There's nothing quite as satisfying as knocking the Flyers down when they're playing well. And they are, right now.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jackets vs. Flyers - 7:00 PM
Game Faceoff

First things first: Joey's back. Glad that's all settled. /s

John Tortorella talked of watching tape yesterday, and "reseting" some bad habits that had crept into Johansen's game. For his part, Johansen was contrite: "I’ve been scratched many times in this league. I’ve been in this situation before. I know what I have to do. I know I have to respond. It’s not easy going out and having success right away like Hartsy made it look but it would definitely be nice to go out there and have a good night."

Hartnell was scratched right before playing Philadelphia. Interesting parallel, that. He also came out and had 1-2-3 in that game. Your move, Joey.

Other roster news of note: Rene Bourque is active now from IR, as David Savard officially goes onto IR himself for a bum ankle that's expected to keep him out for four weeks or so. Still no official word on Jack Johnson, though he did go in the morning skate today according to Porty. The more things change...

Man, it's been a bumpy road since Thanksgiving. After the thrilling OT win against Pittsburgh the night after Turkey, the Jackets have been in a total tailspin: 2-5-3 for seven points. One of those wins, however, came against these Flyers, on the road just two weeks ago. You might remember I chose not to watch that game. It was, naturally, their best game of the season, really.

Conversely, since the day before Thanksgiving when they lost to the Isles, Philly has been good: 7-2-1. One of those losses? See paragraph above. That said, they have a bit of a goalie controversy on their hands, and Michal Neuvirth has gotten much more playing time of late, and overall on the season has the far better numbers of the two goalies in very similar sample sizes:

Player GP GAA SV%
Mason 19 2.76 .912
Neuvirth 16 2.06 .937

Mason is, however, coming off a 36-save shutout against Vancouver Thursday, and appears to be getting the nod again tonight. For the Jackets, it's rookie Joonas Korpisalo again in net, hoping to get back to the form he showed against Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Philly is a similarly offensively-challenged squad, so there's hope.

For Columbus, with Johansen and Bourque back (though it looks like the latter may not play), the lines change up again. Me, I'm just glad the combo of Hartsy--Wennberg--Saad is staying together. Man, did they look good on Thursday.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(12-19-3, 27 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell Alexander Wennberg Brandon Saad
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Gregory Campbell William Karlsson David Clarkson
Ryan Murray Andrew Bodnarchuk
Fedor Tyutin Justin Falk
Kevin Connauton Dalton Prout
Joonas Korpisalo
Curtis McElhinney

Philadelphia Flyers
(14-12-6, 34 Points; 5th Division, 11th Conference)

Michael Raffl Claude Giroux Brayden Schenn
Jakub Voracek Sean Couturier Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read Scott Laughton R.J. Umberger
Chris VandeVelde Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Ryan White
Michael Del Zotto Radko Gudas
Nick Schultz Yevgeni Medvedev
Shayne Gostisbehere Luke Schenn
Steve Mason
Michal Neuvirth