Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets Preview

Dec 12, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) controls the puck against Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers will, once again, try to eclipse the .500 when they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight in Philadelphia.

Thursday night will be the first time in two years the Flyers and Blue Jackets have faced one another. Back on November 5, 2011, the Flyers easily beat Columbus by a score of 9-2. Former Flyer Jeff Carter was out of the lineup with an injury, and Jakub Voracek, former Blue Jacket, scored two goals and notched an assist in his first game against his former team.

Steve Mason will get the start tonight against his former club. Mason has played well since the Blue Jackets shipped him to Philadelphia for Michael Leighton. So far, the trade has been a steal for the Flyers (*knock on wood). Mason is 12-9-4 with a 2.34 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Mason is coming off a great start against the Washington Capitals where he only allowed two goals in a 5-2 win for the Flyers.

Brayden Schenn will play tonight. Somehow, he only had a stiff neck and upper back from the hit he received from Washington’s Tom Wilson on Tuesday night. Schenn said he believes the extra layer of protection in his helmet prevented a concussion. Wilson received no discipline for his reckless hit on Schenn.

The Flyers defensive unit must keep an extra eye out for Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno. Johansen, 21, has had a breakout season thus far, netting 27 points – 12 goals, 15 assists – in 34 games. Foligno has had a nose for the next in games against Philadelphia. In 16 games, he has eight goals and nine points. The orange and black are fortunate to night to not have to face “The Number One Cop on the Force,” Sergei Bobrovksy. Bobrovsky is out of the lineup with a groin injury.

The Blue Jackets have struggled so far this season. They are 14-16-4 and have gone 5-4-1 in their last ten games. Like the Flyers, the road has not been kind to the Blue Jackets. They have gone 6-8-2 away from Columbus this year. This should not be looked on as an easy victory by any means. The Flyers have failed to vault themselves over the .500 mark this year. The orange and black will need another full effort from both the offensive and defensive units.

The Flyers have accumulated points in seven of their last ten games and are one point out of the third spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Topics: Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers, Steve Mason

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