Preview: Flyers seek revenge in Columbus

We’re really in for the home game of the season, as tonight’s Flyers-Blue Jackets game in Columbus is Philly’s 71st of the season. The Flyers have been officially eliminated for about a week now, but haven’t really played any meaningful games in several months. However, they have at least been quite interesting to those of us who are still tuning in.

The Claude Giroux trade packed some contracts with it, clearing some seats for college draftees, who were immediately signed, inserted into the lineup, and last match hit the scoring list for the first time. Noah Cates, a 23-year-old striker who has just finished a strong career with the University of Minnesota Duluth, scored his first career goal, and Ronnie Attard, a 23-year-old defender from Western Michigan University, got his first incision. point on a deflection measure. Hopefully Denver University forward and Hobey Baker nominee Bobby Brink is next.

That, and the strong play from a few players who are supposed to be part of the future like Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov, is almost all we have to glare at for these last dozen games. Hell, even the Flyers’ opponents, other than maybe the Maple Leafs in two weeks, do not inspire much excitement – they are all either teams outside the playoffs or playoff teams that I do not want to have to mess with the Flyers losing to.

Tonight’s opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets, falls into the former category. They are currently sixth in the Metropolitan Division and just barely above the NHL’s version of .500. In many ways, it’s a franchise whose latest trajectory has resembled the Flyers: they were hoping they could compete in much of the latter half of the 2010s and even get into this season, but have now missed the playoffs in a row. years and does not have very many exciting pieces that point to a brighter future.

The Flyers have just lost to the same Blue Jackets team two days ago in what was actually one of their best outings in a very long time. They put their season high in shots with 49 and shot attempts with 78, but still lost 4-2. Honestly, a game where some key players look good, some shiny young players perform well, and the Flyers still lose, is a kind of gold standard for games at this point. Maybe we’ll see it again tonight – though to be even more honest, I do not want to see it because I have to be chaperoning to the prom. Enjoy the game, suckers!

Projected flyer lines:

Joel Farabee — Morgan Frost — Cam Atkinson
James van Riemsdyk — Kevin Hayes — Owen Tippett
Noah Cates — Scott Laughton — Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom — Nate Thompson — Patrick Brown

Ivan Provorov – Cam York
Travis Sanheim — Rasmus Ristolainen
Keith Yandle – Ronnie Attard

Martin Jones
(Carter Hart)

Projected Blue Jackets lines:

Jakub Voráček — Jack Roslovic — Patrik Laine
Gustav Nyquist — Cole Sillinger — Emil Bemström
Justin Danforth — Sean Kuraly — Oliver Bjorkstrand
Eric Robinson — Brendan Gaunce — Carson Meyer

Zach Werenski-Andrew Peeke
Vladislav Gavrikov — Jake Bean
Jake Christiansen — Adam Boqvist

Elvis Merzļikins
(Joonas Korpisalo)

Watch out for:

  • Ivan Provorov, the aforementioned partially rejuvenated defender who has sought to get back in shape in what feels like a few years now. In the last 10 games, Provorov may have only 3 points, but he has put 34 shots on goal, including 18 in just the last 4 games. Most of this time has been spent with Cameron York, who despite being born left-handed has magically played on the right side of the ice.
  • Carson Meyer, who thanks to a two-point night against the Flyers in his second game of his career, is now a career point-per-game player and has scored on his only career shot on the net. I did not know who he was until Tuesday, and to be honest, I still do not really know who he is. But he looked pretty dangerous a few days ago and he plays exactly the same team, albeit a different goalkeeper.
  • Morgan Frost, who has slowly gained a more prominent role in the lineup and on the top power-play unit and has looked strong even without putting the puck in the net. He put up 4 shots on goal against Rangers over the weekend and 5 more on Elvis Merzļikins on Tuesday.
  • Patrik Laine, who is quietly having an upturn season in his first full year with the Blue Jackets. Laine has 52 points in 52 games, including 25 goals – a goal scoring rate (0.48 per game, 1.5 per 60 minutes) that is much closer to his first two seasons (0.49 per game, 1.7 per 60 and 0.54 per game, 2.0 per 60) than the rest of his career. His shooting percentage of 16.3% is also his highest since he was a teenager.

Roaming statistics:

  • The Flyers’ most consistently paired defenders this season have been Rasmus Ristolainen and Travis Sanheim. They have played more than a thousand minutes together and have proven to be the only Flyers pair to break right into goal. The Flyers have scored 48 equal goals with both players on the ice and have allowed 47.
  • There are 50 cities in North America with professional sports teams in at least one of the four major U.S. sports leagues. Columbus is the penultimate city to join this list (after Las Vegas) and the fifth largest city to have only one team (after Montreal, Vancouver, Orlando and Portland).
  • The Blue Jackets’ career leaders of all time are filled with players who also fit the Flyers at one point: there is clearly Cam Atkinson (2nd place in the game, goals, points; 1st place in hat-trick; and 4th place in assists) and Jake Voracek (10th in assists), but there are also RJ Umberger (10th in matches, 5th in goals, 6th in assists), Nikolai Zherdev (8th in power-play goals), Jody Shelley (2 in PIMs), Scott Hartnell (9th in power-play goals, 2nd in shot percentage, 4th in hat-trick), Derick Brassard (10th in power-play goals), Sergei Bobrovsky (1st in pretty much all goalie categories) and Steve Mason (2nd or 3rd in pretty much every goalie game). category.
  • With 1,036, Jake Voracek is fast approaching the most games in the NHL with a Columbus draft pick, though only 309 of them have been for the Blue Jackets. He’s currently only behind Rick Nash’s 1,060 games.

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