Game 68 Scouting Report: The Blue Jackets Head to Philadelphia

By Jeff Svoboda on March 13, 2017 at 7:00 am
Scott, meet Steve
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets head to Philadelphia looking to break the franchise single-season wins record.

Columbus Blue Jackets (43–18–6) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (31-28-8)


If there’s been a Jekyll-and-Hyde team in the NHL this season, it has been the Philadelphia Flyers

Dave Hakstol’s team was just 9-10-3 after losing to the Rangers the day after Thanksgiving, but a home win vs. Calgary two days later started a 10-game winning streak that made the Flyers look like contenders.

Since then, the wheels have seemingly come off. Philadelphia is just 12-18-5 in the 35 games since the streak ended; the Flyers have won multiple games in a row just twice in that span.

That has left the team with 70 points, six behind Toronto for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The last few games have encapsulated the season – Philadelphia had seven points in four games from Feb. 28 through March 7 before losing consecutive games March 9 at Toronto and Saturday at Boston.

The latter game was particularly crushing, with Boston’s Drew Stafford scoring on a deflection with 5.6 seconds to play to give the Bruins a 2-1 victory.

Still, Philadelphia players expect to put forth a good effort in a crucial game with the Blue Jackets.

“We’re a very resilient bunch,” winger Jordan Weal said afterward. “We’re going to look forward to Monday to get this one back and get a huge two points. There’s 15 games left; there’s a lot of points to be had.”

You Oughta Know: Jakub Voracek

A first-round pick of the Blue Jackets in the 2007 draft, Voracek went to Philadelphia in 2011 along with picks that would become Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins for Jeff Carter. (Not the best trade in CBJ history.) Since then, he’s become one of the more dependable wingers in the NHL, putting up a 113-234-347 line in 430 games over six seasons with the Flyers. This year, Voracek has 17 goals and 37 helpers for a team-high 54 points while playing in every game and is a key piece of the Flyers’ power play.

[Fire Emoji] Right Now
  • Steve Mason has had an up-and-down season, overcoming a hand injury and uneven play to turn on his game of late. In his last five games, Mason has posted a 3-1-1 record with a 1.56 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage, this after playing just twice in February.
  • In five games in March, defenseman Radko Gudas has been in an impressive run of form with a goal, two assists and a plus-5 rating in 19:00 minutes per game.
  • Right wing Wayne Simmonds leads the team with seven goals in 16 games since the All-Star break. He leads the team with 28 on the year.
Five Fast Facts
  • Special teams have been a trouble spot for the Flyers over the last four games. Opposing teams have scored on 6 of 13 power-play opportunities and Philadelphia has a single man-up goal in 14 chances.
  • Depth in scoring has been a concern for the Flyers this year, with a single player at 20 goals and just five players in double digits. The team’s 98 5-on-5 goals are third from bottom in the NHL.
  • Injuries: LW Michael Raffl (lower body); D Brandon Manning (upper body)
  • Trade deadline acquisition Valtteri Filppula has a goal and an assist in 17:56 per game since coming over from Tampa Bay.
  • Former Jackets: Despite all the trades between the organizations over the years, the only two former Columbus players on the Jackets are Mason (second-round pick, in Columbus from 2009-13) and Voracek (three seasons with the CBJ). In addition current AHL goaltender Anthony Stolarz has played in four games this year; he was one of the draft picks Philadelphia acquired for Sergei Bobrovsky.
Previous Matchups

January 8: Columbus 2, Philadelphia 1 (OT).

ALL TIME SERIES: Philadelphia leads 13-9-3

Keys to the Game

REBOUND: The Jackets will have to move quickly to put the loss at Buffalo behind them. Columbus gave up five unanswered goals to drop that decision, and getting back on the ice gives the team a chance to wash away Saturday’s loss.

ATTACK MASON: If there’s any team in the league that understands the ebbs and flows in Mason’s game, it’s the Blue Jackets. Making things happen early against the goaltender can be key, and it never hurts to try high glove.

GOT THE POWER: The Columbus power play has showed some signs of life in recent games, including two goals in three chances Friday night vs. Buffalo. Philadelphia’s penalty kill has been a disaster of late; taking advantage of man-up opportunities would go a long way to helping Columbus get the win.

Flyers Projected Lineup

# Player Stats # Player Stats # Player Stats
93 Jakub Voracek 67 GP, 17-37-54 28 Claude Giroux 67 GP, 13-35-48 17 Wayne Simmonds 67 GP, 28-18-46
40 Jordan Weal 10 GP, 3-1-4 51 Valtteri Filppula 5 GP, 1-1-2 11 Travis Konecny 55 GP, 8-16-24
24 Matt Read 53 GP, 8-7-15 14 Sean Couturier 51 GP, 10-10-20 10 Brayden Schenn 64 GP, 19-23-42
25 Nick Cousins 58 GP, 6-10-16 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 67 GP, 3-3-6 76 Chris VandeVelde 67 GP, 6-6-12
Defensive Pairs
# Player Stats # Player Stats
47 Andrew MacDonald 58 GP, 2-13-15, -7 9 Ivan Provorov 67 GP, 5-19-24, -9
55 Nick Schultz 17 GP, 0-4-4, -1 53 Shayne Gostisbehere 61 GP, 6-23-29, -23
15 Michael Del Zotto 38 GP, 4-8-12, -9 3 Radko Gudas 56 GP, 4-14-18, +1
# Player GP W-L-OTL GAA SV% SO
35 Steve Mason 43 19-18-7 2.74 .906 2
30 Michal Neuvirth 22 10-10-1 2.91 .888 0

10 Stats to Know

Impress your friends and enemies alike with these 10 key Philadelphia Flyers stats.

Last 10 Standings PP% PK% CF60 (5x5) CA60 (5x5 PDO OT (SHO) FO% Hits
4–5–1 6th, Metro 20.5 (10) 79.8 (22) 59.82 56.33 97.65 (29) 12-8 (6-4) 51.5 (7) 1699 (6)
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