Dec 19, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell (19) celebrates goal by Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (not pictured) against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Blue Jackets, 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers at Columbus Blue Jackets Game Preview


Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson (26) scores goal past Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard (58) and goalie Curtis McElhinney (31) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Blue Jackets, 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Philadelphia Flyers (16-15-4) will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets (14-17-4) in the second game of a divisional home-and-home series. The Flyers stole the first game, coming back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-2 to win the game 5-4. Game time is 7pm and it will be televised on CSN Philly.

The Flyers come into tonight’s game sitting 3rd in the Metropolitan Division with 36 points. The Blue Jackets, who sit 7th in the division, are only four points behind them. The Flyers went above .500 for the first time this season after their victory Thursday night. Vincent Lecavalier will not play tonight.

The Blue Jackets will be out for revenge. After being embarrassed in Philadelphia, they will look to gain valuable points against the Flyers tonight in their own building. The Blue Jackets will continue to be without reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Curtis McElhinney, who looked great through 40 minutes on Thursday, will get the start for Columbus.

Things to look for:

-The Flyers top line, Raffl-Giroux-Voracek, has been on fire lately. In the four games that they have been together, Raffl has five points (1G, 4A), Giroux has nine points (4G, 5A), and Voracek has eight points (4G, 4A). The Blue Jackets will be hard pressed to keep them silent for the whole game.

-The Flyers have scored 14 goals in their last three games. One of the reasons for this upsurge in goal production has been the increased involvement of the defense. Last Sunday, both Coburn (one assist) and Streit (one goal) got on the scoresheet. On Tuesday, Luke Schenn and Grossmann were the only defensemen not to register a point. On Thursday night, defensemen (Gustafsson and Coburn) accounted for two of the Flyers goals and Mark Streit added two assists. Look for the Flyers defense to be “activated” tonight. Coburn has been especially active lately. He and Streit each have a three game point streak.

-The Blue Jackets will see the return of forward Marion Gaborik and defenseman James Wisniewski  tonight. Gaborik is top line winger who the Flyers know well from his days playing for the New York Rangers. Wisniewski is a skilled defenseman who could give the Flyers problems. If Gaborik and Wisniewski are at full strength that will spell trouble for Philadelphia, but if they are rusty, the Flyers need to jump on them.

-Ray Emery will start for the Flyers in goal. Razor Ray has been good, but not great, this season. His 3-6-1 record, along with his .891 SV% and 3.02 GAA, make him look worse than he actually is. However, he has lost his last three starts (Chicago, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay). There have been times this season in which he has saved the team, like holding off Minnesota for two periods, and there have been times in which he has look rattled, like in Chicago. The bottom line is, even though he has not been great, Emery has almost always given the Flyers a chance to win the game, and you can’t ask a goalie for much more than that.

Tags: Braydon Coburn Claude Giroux Mark Streit Philadelphia Flyers