PLAYOFFS? FLYERS NEED TO STEAL TONIGHT’S GAME IN COLUMBUS

By Harry Allison

The Flyers started the 2014-15 season in a hole by losing their first four games.

Since then nearly every match-up has been a “must-win.”

Like tonight’s visit to Columbus. Which is a must-win if the Flyers hope to get into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

They enter the game eight points behind the Boston Bruins for the last post-season spot.

Flyers winger Jakub Voracek (photo above) has finally become the star that the Blue Jackets envisioned when they drafted him in the first round in 2007.

He’s still searching for his first win as a visitor against his first NHL team.

Voracek will be one of several former Blue Jackets on the ice for the Flyers when they try to end a five-game slide at Columbus on Friday night.

The Blue Jackets (23-26-3) made Voracek the seventh overall selection in 2007, and he was part of the franchise’s first playoff appearance as a rookie in 2008-09. But he clashed with former Columbus coach Scott Arniel and was traded to the Flyers on June 23, 2011.

Playing on a line with star captain Claude Giroux, Voracek is tied for second in the NHL with 59 points – three shy of his career high set last season. He has 12 points in eight games against his former team with five in three meetings this season, though Philly (23-22-9) is 0-2-1 in his visits to Nationwide Arena.

Voracek last played there in the NHL All-Star game Jan. 25, tallying six points to match an event record set by Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux in 1988.

He’ll be joined on the ice by former Blue Jackets R.J. Umberger and Nick Schultz.

One former Columbus player who won’t be available is goaltender Steve Mason, who suffered a bizarre injury during a timeout in Sunday’s 3-1 victory at Washington that resulted in knee surgery.

That means Ray Emery will likely get the nod. Emery has surrendered 10 goals in losing both career starts at Columbus, where the Flyers are 0-4-1 in five visits after going 2-0-0 with two ties in their first four.

The Blue Jackets will start Curtis McElhinney, who is 3-1-0 with a 3.27 goals-against average in four starts against Philadelphia.

Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn feels confident he will return after he sat out Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime loss at Montreal with an upper-body injury.

“I feel pretty good and felt surprisingly pretty good waking up this morning and in practice,” Schenn told the Flyers’ official website. “So I should be fine and ready to go tomorrow.”

The Blue Jackets failed to win their third straight Monday with a 4-3 home defeat to Los Angeles. Hartnell scored for the third straight game, and he has six points in a four-game run.

“Those one-goal games mean a lot when you lose them and you want to be on the other side of it,” forward Matt Calvert told the Blue Jackets’ official website. “It’s tough to play desperate everyday, but we got ourselves into this hole and it’s our jobs to get ourselves out of it.”

About admin

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply