I think we've all made peace with the fact that, with a regulation loss tonight, Columbus is officially eliminated. We've been waiting for the math to be official since Halloween. Sigh.
Philly has been hot for most of the past four months--remember the beating we got a few weeks ago--but still has a thin margin for error. A regulation loss for them tonight--pending the results of Detroit and Tampa Bay--could do some damage to their playoff push.
That's really what it comes down to for the players. We, the fans, cling to the "Play Well And Lose" mantra. As of today, the Jackets would have the fourth-best odds to win the #1 pick in the draft lottery, and decent enough odds to sneak into the top three where the consensus "difference makers" are. They are just three points out of 30th place.
So, there are plenty of things to root for tonight. Pick whichever you will. Dealer's choice.
Nick Foligno is sick and didn't skate this morning and is questionable to play tonight. No idea if the lines will look like this if he's out, but one assumes Rene Bourque would get the chance to play one way or another. If it's me? Put BJORKSTRAND on the top line and see what happens.
The Flyers played last night, so no word on their goalie as of yet. Don't be surprised to see Anthony Stolarz get the chance to play.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(29-35-8, 66 Points; 8th division, 15th conference)
|Scott Hartnell||Brandon Dubinsky||Nick Foligno / Rene Bourque|
|Brandon Saad||Boone Jenner||Cam Atkinson|
|Matt Calvert||Alexander Wennberg||BJORKSTRAND|
|William Karlsson||Michael Chaput||Gregory Campbell|
|David Savard||Seth Jones|
|Ryan Murray||Dalton Prout|
|Fedor Tyutin||Cody Goloubef|
(35-24-12, 82 Points; 5th Division, 9th Conference)
|Brayden Schenn||Claude Giroux||Wayne Simmonds|
|Michael Raffl||Sean Couturier||Sam Gagner|
|Jakub Voracek||Nick Cousins||Matt Read|
|Scott Laughton||Pierre-Edouard Bellemare||Ryan White|
|Nick Schultz||Mark Streit|
|Andrew MacDonald||Shayne Gostisbehere|
|Brandon Manning||Radko Gudas|