Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell Match-up – Columbus Blue Jackets (4-10-1) @ Philadelphia Flyers (7-5-2) Road/Home records – 2-5-1 ————– 5-1-2 TV – TCN-PH, FS-O Puck drop – 7:00 p.m. ET Season series – N/A Last 10 – Blue Jackets: 1-8-1 ———— Flyers: 7-3-0 Projected starting goalies – Curtis McElhinney vs Steve Mason Projected lines for the Flyers via DailyFaceoff.com:
Wayne Simmonds – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
R.J. Umberger – Sean Couturier – Matt Read
Brayden Schenn – Vincent Lecavalier – Jason Akeson
Zac Rinaldo – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Chris VandeVelde
Nicklas Grossman – Mark Streit
Braydon Coburn – Carlo Colaiacovo
Michael Del Zotto – Nick Schultz
Injured: Kimmo Timonen, Andrew MacDonald, Luke Schenn, Michael Raffl. Projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
Brian Gibbons – Ryan Johansen – Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell – Boone Jenner – Cam Atkinson
Corey Tropp – Alex Wennberg – Adam Cracknell
Dana Tyrell – Michael Chaput – Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin – David Savard
Tim Erixon – James Wisniewski
Jack Johnson – Dalton Prout
Questionable but unlikely to play: Sergei Bobrovsky, Artem Anisimov.
Injured: Bobrovsky, Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton, Matt Calvert, Mark Letestu, Ryan Murray, Cody Goloubef.
– Sergei Bobrovsky is nearing a return, but it looks like he will be unable to go against his former team. The Jackets have allowed 30 goals in seven games since Bobrovsky went down with a finger injury, and have lost each of those seven. They could really use a quality start from Curtis McElhinney to give them a chance to end this nine-game losing streak and pick up a couple points before Bobrovsky’s return.
As many expected from the day the deal was made, Hartnell’s contributions have been far more significant than Umberger’s. Hartnell is averaging a hair less than a point per game and has been a very good volume shooter while driving possession. On the other hand, Umberger has produced next to nothing offensively and has served as a possession anchor all year long.
Umberger has three years on his contract (including this season) while Hartnell has five, and that’s about the only positive to come out of this trade for Philadelphia.
The talent gap is quite significant, and in reality having a good player for a few years and declining production at the end is far better than having a poor player for three years.
Luckily for Philadelphia they have a nice bunch of talented forwards to try and outweigh Umberger’s lack of production.
– Speaking of those forwards, Voracek enters tonight’s contest 2nd in scoring behind only Sidney Crosby, while Giroux has 18 points in 14 games and is near the top of the league in scoring, as well. They’ve been producing at an incredible rate, and given they’re going up against a struggling Jack Johnson, and Curtis McElhinney has been awful between the pipes, they’ll probably find the scoresheet.
– Sticking with Johnson, he has been killed in possession all year the Jackets have scored just 30% of all goals when Johnson’s on the ice during even-strength, but his return should be a boost for Columbus. I’m not the biggest fan of Johnson’s game, but he certainly can be better than what he’s shown this season, and the Jackets really need him to find his stride. He’s been a train wreck on the ice thus far and he plays huge minutes, which isn’t exactly a recipe for team success. Again, he needs to be better. Recent posts Are Sergei Bobrovsky’s contract demands unreasonable? Jackets fall to Caps as dreadful losing streak extends to nine NHL Power Rankings: Lightning Bolt to the top Hotstove: Best defense pairing in hockey? Hotstove: First team to make a panic move? Hotstove: Are the Avalanche a playoff team?