Preview: Cleared for takeoff?

Can the Blue Jackets get back in the win column?

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Broad Street Hockey

The Columbus Blue Jackets return to the ice tonight seeking to return to the win column and keep pace with their Metro Division foes. The Union Blue lost on Wednesday night in Toronto but in the process shot 50+ for the third straight game. No other NHL team had accomplished that since the days of the Original Six. Over the last 8 games, the Blue Jackets have tallied 111 more shots on goal than their opponents. In that span, their 55.96 CF% is second best in the league.

Stuck at sixth in the division - just one point back of Carolina with a game in hand - every game is important, but especially games against Metro opponents. Columbus is 4 points behind Philadelphia, but plays them 3 more times, including a rematch next Thursday. A sweep in these games would put Columbus right back in the thick of things.

On the other side, the Flyers are flying high of late, earning points in six consecutive games. Sean Couturier leads them in goals, while Jakub Voracek leads them in assists. Don’t look up how each player was acquired unless you want your Friday afternoon ruined.

The bad news in Philly is an injury to starting goaltender Brian Elliott. He underwent surgery to repair an injured core muscle, and will miss five to six weeks, which could be most of the remainder of the season. They may stay put, or could add another goalie before the trade deadline. Michal Neuvirth takes over as starter in the meantime with a 7-7-3 record, 2.58 GAA and .915 Save %. In his last 4 starts, he has given up 4 or more goals 3 times. Could he withstand a 50 shot night?

Any NFL fans here? Our colleagues at Broad Street Hockey look for lessons the Flyers could borrow from the Super Bowl champion Eagles.

Projected Lineups

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Oliver BJORKSTRAND Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert Lukas Sedlak Jussi Jokinen
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson Markus Nutivaara
Dean Kukan David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Claude Giroux Sean Couturier Travis Konecny
Jakub Voracek Nolan Patrick Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl Scott Laughton Jordan Weal
Jori Lehtera Valtteri Filppula Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning Radko Gudas
Michal Neuvirth
Alex Lyon

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