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Lots on Line Ahead of Jackets-Flyers Tilt

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The Blue Jackets finish their regular-season series with the Flyers tonight from Wells Fargo Center. A win for Columbus vaults them into a tie with Philadelphia for a top-three spot in the Metro and would match a season-high six-game win streak.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 7:00 EST
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Broad Street Hockey

Columbus Blue Jackets, 37-28-5, 79 points, 5th Metro, 8th East

vs.

Philadelphia Flyers, 35-24-11, 81 points, 3rd Metro, 6th East

Don’t you love March Madness?

Thursday features a pivotal Metropolitan matchup between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers as the two clubs wrap up their fourth and final matchup of the regular season.

So far this season, the three games have each been decided by 2-1 scores, with Philadelphia taking the last two meetings, and two of the three games decided in extra time.

There is no reason to think Thursday’s matchup won’t be another close game as things remain tight in the Metropolitan standings. As it appears increasingly likely both clubs will be in the playoffs, the potential of a playoff matchup, even a first-round clash, is still possible.

Both teams are separated by two points, the difference between a top-three spot and a wild card. If the Blue Jackets win, the Flyers would hold the tie-breaker due to more regulation and overtime wins. The Devils overtook Columbus for the first wild card after their 8-2 win over Vegas late Wednesday.

Streakin’

Seth Jones, who left Monday’s game against the Canadiens for precautionary reasons according to John Tortorella, is expected to suit up for Thursday’s game. Jones has appeared in all 70 games for Columbus and has been red-hot of late, with four goals, three assists over the past three games. A second goal from Monday was taken away and credited to Alexander Wennberg.

Jones has set career-highs in points (48), goals (14), and assists (34). Artemi Panarin has points in 11 of his last 12 games (six goals, nine assists) and currently rides a five-game point streak (three goals, five assists).

Flyers captain Claude Giroux still has an outside shot at the Art Ross Trophy, currently residing tied-for-fourth overall with 82 points. He is two off the league-lead for assists, as teammate Jakub Voracek leads with 59.

Giroux is currently on a seven-game point streak (three goals, five assists) and has points in 13 of his last 15 games (10 goals, 14 assists).

Guarding the Goal

We will await confirmation regarding Columbus' choice in goal but it would seem likely Sergei Bobrovsky (30-21-5, 2.42 GAA, .921 SV%), who has started the previous three against the Flyers (1-1-1, 1.62 GAA, 934 SV%), gets the nod.

For Philadelphia, Petr Mrazek (4-4-1, 2.85 GAA, .898 SV%) has struggled since an initial 3-0 start to his Flyers career going 1-4-1 over his last six games. He has surrendered four-plus goals over those six games, and 22 on 180 shots in that span. Backup Alex Lyon (2-2, 2.91, .900 SV%) last played March 8 against the Bruins and has only appeared in five games this season.

Faceoff

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Sonny Milano Nick Foligno Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg Thomas Vanek
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Mark Letestu
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson Ryan Murray
Ian Cole David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux Sean Couturier Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom Nolan Patrick Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl Valtteri Filppula Wayne Simmonds
Jori Lehtera Scott Laughton Matt Read
Ivan Provorov Shayne Gostisbehere
Andrew MacDonald Travis Sanheim
Brandon Manning Radko Gudas
Petr Mrazek
Alex Lyon