Flyers Look to Rebound against Jackets
For one of the first times in NHL history, one of the Columbus Blue Jackets road games was circled on the schedule by opposing fans.
Jeff Carter was slated to return to Philadelphia following an offseason that saw him traded in a shocking manner. He returns tonight, but he'll watch from afar like the fans who bought their tickets when the schedule was released.
Columbus (2-10-1) enters the game as the worst team in the NHL. Quite frankly, it's not even close. The Jackets have just five points in 13 games. Not only is that worst in the league, it's also three points behind the next lowest total.
However, tonight's result isn't a foregone conclusion. Philadelphia (7-4-2) is still hampered by injuries. Among the latest wounded is forward Andreas Nodl. Nodl will miss tonight's game and all signs point to Eric Wellwood filling his spot.
An interesting subplot to watch for tonight is the play of Flyers forwards Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier.
Both players were the return value of the Carter trade. Voracek was shipped to Philadelphia directly, while Couturier was drafted with the Jackets' first round pick.
The rookie has continued to impress with his mature play and fantastic intelligence on the ice. If the trade were evaluated by trial, the jury would remain out on Voracek.
With just five points in 13 games, Voracek's production is below expectations. He has disappeared for large portions of games, his propensity to turnover the puck has been troubling.
When the Flyers are buzzing, so is Voracek. When the team falls into the slumber they frequently find mid-game, number 93 is nowhere to be found.
Against Columbus, it's to be expected that the former first round draft choice will be visible at all times.
Philadelphia's defense must also be visible for the team to bounce back from last game.
By all accounts, the Flyers blew an easily winnable game Thursday. They lost a two-goal lead as well as a 3-2 lead in a 4-3 shootout loss to New Jersey.
Since Chris Pronger has been sidelined due to an eye injury, Philadelphia's defense has had quite a few lapses. The inability to protect the puck and poor decision-making have been two of the unit's major problems.
Tonight's game should help the defensive corps get back on track.
Columbus' top scorer is a former Flyer, which many expected entering the season.
It's who the former Flyer is that's the surprise.
ANSWER IN COMMENTS SECTION
Who will score first tonight?
Which defenseman will bounce back most from Thursday's performance?
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