We are doing everything we can here at Broad Street Buzz to give you the best Philadelphia Flyers content on the web. For the upcoming home-and-home series against the Columbus Blue Jackets we want our audience to be prepared. Teams like the Penguins, Rangers, Devils, and Capitals are old news to us. We know their players, we know their coaches, and we know what to look for when we play them. The Columbus Blue Jackets are the new kids on the block, so we thought we would talk to those who cover them the closest to try and figure out what we can expect in the upcoming games.
1. What has been the biggest strength of CBJ so far?
Lindsay: The Blue Jackets have had a high number of injuries so far this season, and with that comes call-ups from the AHL. The Blue Jackets depth is a major strength of the team. When Sergei Bobrovsky was hurt, management said that they had full confidence in Curtis McElhinney. When McElhinney was hurt, they called up the starting AHL goalie who had just been named the AHL goalie of the month. There is also a lot of depth at defense and center, so when the injury bug continues to bite, they will be ready.
Mike: Lately the Jackets have been able to strike early in games, which has given the backup goaltenders a buffer to work with. While they have allowed the opposing team to chip away at their lead, they have been able to hold out, as was the case with the Rangers. The Jackets 36-1-0 record under Todd Richards when leading after 2 attests to the fact this team has no problem getting an early lead and closing out the third.
2. Who should the Flyers be wary of?
Lindsay: Definitely Ryan Johansen. He has had a breakout season so far with 27 points, the most of anyone on the team. Matt Calvert has had some great games lately by forechecking heavily and getting physical when necessary. Jared Boll, the Blue Jacket’s franchise enforcer, is out for 3-4 months with an ankle injury, so teammates such as Calvert, Dalton Prout, and James Wisniewski are going to be stepping up to take that role.
3. Who do you see as the biggest threat TO the Blue Jackets FROM the Flyers?
Lindsay: I’m curious to see how Steve Mason will do during his first game against his old team. With the Blue Jackets luck, he will shut them out both times and score a goal. Claude Giroux could also cause problems for the Blue Jackets.
4. What is one area in which CBJ has struggled this season?
Lindsay: The Blue Jackets have struggled with consistency. They seem to be hitting their stride now, but with players coming back from injury, such as Marian Gaborik, it could disrupt what they have going right now.
Mike: The second period has been a disaster for the Jackets this season. Lately things have been better, but too often we have seen Columbus score early and finish the 1st with a lead, only for the wheels to fall off during the second period
5. What are your expectations for this game? (physicality, speed, scoring, etc.)
Lindsay: Truthfully, I don’t think this weekend is going to go well for the Blue Jackets. Ryan Johansen will probably have 4 points in the two games, but I’m not expecting a win on either game.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at the Columbus Blue Jackets. Feel free to follow Union and Blue on twitter (@UnionandBlue).