1:06 pm
December 22

Blue Jackets @ Flyers

Who will WIN this matchup?

Columbus Blue Jackets (19-12-3)

@ Philadelphia Flyers (14-15-4)


Starting Goalies:

Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ): Confirmed

Carter Hart (PHI): Confirmed


Current odds:

Columbus Blue Jackets: (-110)

Philadelphia Flyers: (-110)


 The Philadelphia Flyers’ goaltender of the future has infused a bit of optimism on a team that was spiraling out of control prior to his recall from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League. Carter Hart will attempt to become the fourth netminder in franchise history to win his first three NHL starts on Saturday afternoon when his team hosts former Flyers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets. “He’s the main reason we won the last two games,” former Blue Jackets forward Jakub Voracek said of the 20-year-old Hart, who turned aside 31 shots to best reigning Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne in a 2-1 victory versus Nashville.

• Bobrovsky, who is a two-time Vezina recipient, has tormented Philadelphia to the tune of winning of both starts this season to improve to 12-3-1 with two shutouts in his career against the club since being traded away in June 2012. The 30-year-old Russian has yielded just four goals on 110 shots in his last four outings overall (3-0-1) for Columbus, which is a stellar 17-4-1 in its last 22 meetings with the Flyers. Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux, who recorded a pair of two-point performances versus Columbus, scored against the Predators to join fellow forward Travis Konency with six-game home point streaks.

• Cam Atkinson joined former captain Rick Nash in reaching the 20-goal plateau with the franchise for at least the sixth straight season on Thursday when he scored on a penalty shot in Columbus’ 2-1 win vs. New Jersey. The 29-year-old netted a pair in the Blue Jackets’ 6-3 triumph over Philadelphia on Oct. 18 before setting up a goal by defenseman Seth Jones just 10 seconds into overtime of a 4-3 victory on Dec. 6. Jones tallied twice in the latter contest to highlight a stretch in which he has recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in as many games.

• Giroux has scored 13 (four goals, nine assists) of his team-leading 41 points in his last 10 games while Voracek has nine in that stretch to move within one of 600 for his career. Ivan Provorov has endured significant growing pains during his third NHL season, but the defenseman averted additional punishment from the league after pushing a linesman during Thursday’s game. “I didn’t see the shove,” Philadelphia interim coach Scott Gordon said. “I didn’t see what brought it on. I don’t know if he didn’t like the penalty. … As a player, you know you can’t do that.”

• Columbus C Pierre-Luc Dubois, who has been held off the scoresheet in two meetings with Philadelphia, has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his last 18 outings overall.

• Hart will bid to join Bob Froese (8-0-0, 1982-83), Antero Niittymaki (5-0-0, 2003-04, 2005-06) and Ron Hextall (4-0-0, 1986-87) as the lone Flyers goaltenders to win at least his first three NHL starts.

• The Blue Jackets have killed off 14 consecutive power-play opportunities in their last seven games and are 52 of 61 since Nov. 1

StreakSmarter Pick
Columbus Blue Jackets