Game Preview:Flyers Ship Off to Columbus
The Flyers(3-3-1)will travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets(4-3-0). The Flyers are coming off of their best offensive performance of the season with a 5-2 win against the maple Leafs.
Richards finally stepped up and led his team like a captain should by making his presence felt,scoring one goal and adding two assists.
The Blue Jackets are coming off a 3-2 road victory against the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks which saw Antoine Vermette get the game winner late in the third, his first of the season. Columbus came back from a two goal deficit in the third period to beat the Hawks.
This will be the only time this season the Flyers will play the Blue Jackets, the Flyers have a winning record against Columbus, 5-1-3 overall, and are 2-1-1 on the road.
The last time these two teams met was Jan. 19,2010 in Philly where the Flyers won 5-3, Carter picking up two goals. The last time the Flyers played in Columbus was on Dec 27,2008, the Flyers lost 3-0, Steve Mason picking up the shutout.
Both teams are coming into this game off of the big wins I mentioned above, both teams have also struggled to score goals this season. Before the big offensive break out against the Leafs the Flyers averaged 2.17 goals per game, which ranked them 28th in the league.
The Blue Jackets are not that much better scoring 2.60 goals per game, and in all 7 games this season they have either scored two or three goals, no more no less.
Columbus is currently 1-2-0 at home and have not entertained the home crowd, don't expect the building to be packed tonight. That means you should hear the "Let's Go Flyers" and loud cheers when the Flyers score.
The Flyers and Blue Jackets have a short history in the transaction department, they have been trade partners only three times.
The trade with the biggest impact was one that had the Flyers send R.J. Umberger and 2008 4th round pick(Drew Olson) for Colorado's 2008 1st round pick(Lucas Sbisa) and a 2008 3rd round pick (Marc-Andre Bourdon).
So far this trade has worked out for both teams but still needs more time for evaluation. The Flyers used Sbisa in a package to land Pronger and Bourdon is a promissing defensemen who should be up with the big club next season.
R.J. Umberger is now leading the Blue Jackets in goals so far this season with a team high of four. Drew Olson is still in College at U. Minnesota - Deluth.
In The Nets
The Flyers have been pretty hush hush about their goalie situation and today is no different. From whats being reported it looks like the Flyers will go with Brian Boucher(1-1-1) tonight against Columbus. In seven games versus the Blue Jackets, Boucher is undefeated with a 4-0-3 record.
Also being reported is that Mathieu Garon(1-0), the Blue Jackets backup, will get the start tonight. In his one start this season Garon let up 2 goals on 23 shots and has a .913 SV%.
He is 1-3 in matchups aginst the Flyers, only one of those games he was a member of the Blue Jackets and in that game he had to be pulled in a 5-3 loss. Garon also played in Montreal and Edmonton before coming to the Blue Jackets.
On The Lookout
Look for the Flyers to bring the momentum from Saturday's win to Columbus. Mike Richards is coming off his biggest performance of the season and will also look on adding to that tonight.
Look for Hartnell to start some problems down low in front of Garon. Briere has been on fire this year and is leading the Flyers in goals so far this season with five.
If there is one area for him to get going it would be assists, he has no assists on the season, as long as he is scoring goals thats all that matters.The Flyers will still need to improve with the man advantage, they were 1-6 against the Leafs on Saturday including an unsuccessful five minute man advantage in the third.
The Blue Jackets have had a roller coaster type of season that had them start the season in Sweden.The Flyers will have to keep their eye on Rick Nash as usual, but old teammate R.J. Umberger is leading the Blue Jackets in pts 7 and in goals with 4.
He has been their best forward so far this year willing to battle in the corners and the battles in front of the net. Antoine Vermette just scored his first against the Blackhawks and will look to continue down that road.
One area the Blue Jackets have been struggling is on their PP, much like the Flyers they are having troubles scoring and have a ten percent success rate. On the flip side their penalty kill has been pretty good, killing 82.9%.
Scott Hartnell is known for his long redish curly hair and also falling down,which is not good. But what is good is Hartnell decided to cut his hair and donate it to Locks for Love a non profit organization that makes wigs for people that lose their hair due to illness. Read what Hartnell had to say about his hair here.
The Flyers need to pressure the net tonight and score early. They need to set the tone by throwing the body and winning the battles in the corners. They also need to knock Umberger and nash around tonight and take them off of their game.
They have to get the power play clicking and make the shots they do get during the PP count.The defense will need to tighten up and not give any open looks on the PP or at regular stregnth.
Boucher will have to try to get through tonight's game without giving up a soft goal. This will be hard for him as he is good for one or two a game.
Step Up Players
Carter, JVR, Carle, Zherdev