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Game #37 Preview: Two desperate teams face off in Philadelphia

Here’s what you need to know

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Thursday, January 20, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Broad Street Hockey

Columbus Blue Jackets (17-18-1, 35 points, 5th Metro, 10th East)

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Philadelphia Flyers (13-18-8, 34 points, 6th Metro, 11th East)

After four days without a game — and several days of intense practice — the Blue Jackets are back in action in Philadelphia, facing the Flyers for the first time in nearly two years. Both teams are quickly falling out of reach of the playoffs, and are looking for a win for a confidence boost more than anything else.

For more about this match-up be sure to listen to my podcast this week with Steph Driver from Broad Street Hockey. (You can also listen in the embedded player below this post) We both have grave concerns about our respective teams’ defense, and neither of us are confident picking our team to win.

Player to Watch

Cam Atkinson

Cam was my favorite Blue Jacket for a long time, and it’s going to be really weird seeing him play against us. The trade shocked and hurt me, and it has stung every time I see a highlight of him from this season. It’s been a hockey trade that has worked as planned for both teams, however: Cam leads the Flyers in goals (15), while Jake Voracek leads the Jackets in assists (24). Sadly, Voracek may miss the reunion. He’s still on the COVID list though he is eligible to be activated if he clears tomorrow, then travels to Philly.

Jackets Notes

Joining Voracek on the COVID list this week were defensemen Adam Boqvist and Vladislav Gavrikov. Cole Sillinger also remains in the protocol ... On Wednesday, the NHL announced revised schedules for all 32 teams. Most games which have been postponed from December and January will be made up during the three weeks in February which were previously set aside for the Olympic break. Some other games from later in the season have been shuffled around as well. Here is handy graphic with the Jackets’ new February schedule:

The Other Bench

The Flyers lost back-to-back games this week against the Islanders, bringing their active losing streak to nine games. This is the second time this season they have lost nine in a row. Ouch ... Broad Street Hockey wrote about some positive and negative trends from that two game series ... The Flyers are hurting up the middle, missing centers Sean Couturier, Patrick Brown, and former Jacket Derick Brassard to injuries. Forward Kevin Hayes is also out. On defense, major offseason acquisition Ryan Ellis has only played in four games for the Flyers ... Instead of talking about players missing games, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention defenseman Keith Yandle and his active ironman streak. He has not missed a game for 12 seasons and counting. For context, the last time he missed a game was in 2008-09, which also happened to be Voracek’s rookie year. Yandle is -21 through 39 games so if not for the streak he likely would have been scratched by now, but even so I find long streaks like this to be really cool.

Season Series

01/20/2022 CBJ @ PHI
04/05/2022 CBJ @ PHI
04/07/2022 PHI @ CBJ

Stats

Philadelphia Columbus
2.51 (27) GPG 3.14 (12)
3.31 (24) GAPG 3.61 (31)
16.2% (26) PP% 16.1% (27)
78.8% (19) PK% 78.0% (22)
47.6% (23) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.8% (22)
47.1% (23) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.7% (24)
7.0 (28) 5v5 Shooting % 9.3 (6)
.922 (12) 5v5 Save % .907 (28)
Cam Atkinson, 15 G Leader Boone Jenner, 15
Claude Giroux, 19 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 24
Claude Giroux, 31 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 26
Zack MacEwen, 41 PIM Leader Andrew Peeke, 26
6-8-4 Home / Road 6-12-0
1-6-3 Last 10 3-7-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gus Nyquist Boone Jenner Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Yegor Chinakhov Alexandre Texier Patrik Laine
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Max Domi
Liam Foudy Jack Roslovic Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Andrew Peeke
Gavin Bayreuther Jake Bean
Gabriel Carlsson Dean Kukan
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Philadelphia Flyers
Joel Farabee Claude Giroux Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom Scott Laughton Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk Morgan Frost Gerald Mayhew
Maxwell Willman Connor Bunnaman Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim Rasmus Ristolainen
Keith Yandle Cam York
Carter Hart
Martin Jones