Game Preview: Blue Jackets Look To Bounce Back Defensively Against Philadelphia Flyers

By Chris Pennington on December 6, 2018 at 7:15 am
Artemi Panarin is second on the Columbus Blue Jackets in points with 29, with 22 of those points being assists.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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On Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames, the Columbus Blue Jackets allowed more goals in a single game than they have in their past seven seasons.

Coming into a season where the most solidified parts of the Blue Jackets seemed to be their goaltending and defense, this surely came as a surprise to many. 

But it's been the offense this season that's been the driving force of the club, currently ranked seventh in the league in goals for with 96 through 27 games.

The Jackets, though sitting near the top of the Metropolitan Division, are currently ranked 27th in the NHL in goals against (they ranked 10th last season), holding a +4 team goals difference. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the two top teams of the Eastern Conference, are both +29.

There's still time to right the defensive ship, and it shouldn't be too difficult with talent like Zach Werenski, Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky, and even talent like Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara beginning to find themselves. Games like these against a struggling Philadelphia Flyers offense should be helpful in building defensive confidence.


PROJECTED LINES

Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson

Foligno – Jenner – Anderson

Dubinsky – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand

Sedlak – Nash – Hannikainen 

DEFENSEMEN

Werenski – Jones

Murray – Nutivaara

Harrington – Savard

GOALTENDER

Bobrovsky

STORYLINES

  • The Philadelphia Flyers are currently second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference with a 11-12-2 record. After a playoff birth last season, this is surely a little shocking to the hockey world, but their offense tells a pretty big story. They only have one player as of now in double digits in scoring (Sean Couturier with ten), and are in the bottom-five in the league in power play percentage, converting on 15.07% of their chances.
  • Cam Atkinson is as hot as they come right now. Atkinson is riding an 11-game point streak after recording a hat trick on Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames. He's riding a more-than-a-point per game basis with 30 points through 26 games, which leads the Blue Jackets. Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois are close behind with 29 and 25 respectively. 
  • Coach John Tortorella stated that Sergei Bobrovsky would be the starting goaltender tonight, despite the nine-goals allowed performance on Tuesday night. Tortorella then told 97.1 Radio on Wednesday, "You may not believe it in a 9-6 game, but we played really well through a lot of that game. We've got to be real careful about how we judge Bob, too." Clearly Torts wants to get Bob back in a state of confidence as the season trudges along.

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