Flyers’ Newest Challenge, Winning at Nationwide Arena


Now that the Flyers have ended their morbid six-game losing streak, another mountain of a challenge stands before them once again. The Flyers’ newest test will come in the form of facing their newly established Metropolitan Division rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets, in a building they haven’t won in for nearly nine whole years. So what’s the forecast say for Tuesday’s matchup?

Last Meeting

Flyers 4, Blue Jackets 2 – Nov. 22nd, 2014

The Flyers evened the score in the early season series with four goals on 37 shots against former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky. Philly used multi-point efforts from Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux, and Braydon Coburn to hand Bobrovsky the first defeat of his career at the hands of his old team.

It was the second of three home games against Blue Jackets, with the final home meeting coming on Feb. 17th.

The Nationwide Hurdle

The Flyers may be heading into Columbus feeling better about themselves after sweeping the season series against the Los Angeles Kings, but at 9-13-4 through 26 games (3-9-2 on the road), Nationwide Arena may be the last place they’d like to visit.

Since Robert Esche’s 23-save win on Dec. 13th, 2005, the Flyers have lost four straight in Columbus, which includes both trips to the Buckeye State last season. And although Philadelphia is making only their ninth trip to Nationwide Arena since 2000, it’s a drought they’re eager to end nonetheless.

Since first stepping foot into Columbus’ state-of-the-art facility, the Flyers have been held to two goals or less in six of their nine total games there. The Blue Jackets have outscored the Flyers in their home barn by a 23-16 margin, and by a 11-5 mark last season.

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The Flyers previously ended a four-game losing streak to Columbus with their win on Nov. 22nd. But even with the win, the Jackets have taken four-of-six since matriculating over to the Eastern Conference last season.

Umberger’s Return

R.J. Umberger will make his first appearance on Columbus ice since assisting Nick Foligno’s overtime goal in Game 6 of last season’s quarterfinal round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 32-year-old forward marches into his old stomping grounds with four points on the season, but recently snapped a career-worst 17-game scoreless streak on Wednesday night in Anaheim.

Scott Hartnell, on the other hand, is Columbus’ third leading scorer through 26 games with five goals and 11 assists. In his two previous tilts against the Flyers in Philadelphia, Hartnell was held scoreless with a minus-one rating.

Brandon Dubinsky will make his season debut for the Blue Jackets on Tuesday as well.

Standings Comparison

  • Philadelphia: 9-13-4, 22 points (3-9-2 on the road)
  • Columbus: 9-15-2, 20 points (4-8-1 at home)

On a Roll

  • Wayne Simmonds: Three goals in last two games.
  • Sean Couturier: Three-game point streak (one goal, two assists).
  • Jakub Voracek: Third among NHL leading point scorers (33) – 11 points in seven career games vs. Columbus.
  • Cam Atkinson: Three points in last two games.
  • Boone Jenner: Goals in three straight games.
  • Nick Foligno: Second in team points (23) – has scored more goals against the Flyers (11) than against any other team.

After dropping nine straight games through Oct. and Nov., and five of their last six games in Nov., the Blue Jackets have embraced the month of December with an unblemished mark of 3-0-0. Both teams are coming off of Saturday wins, despite both squads owning two separate losing streaks of four games or more this season.