(SportsNetwork.com) – Scott Hartnell makes his return to Philadelphia on
Friday, as his skidding Columbus Blue Jackets take on the Flyers at Wells
Hartnell spent seven seasons in Philadelphia before getting shipped to
Columbus in June for fellow forward R. J. Umberger and a fourth-round draft
pick. The 32-year-old ranks sixth all-time among Flyers left wingers with 326
points on 157 goals and 169 assists.
“It is a difficult building. It’s a loud building,” said Hartnell, who reached
the 30-goal mark twice during his time in Philadelphia. “When they get going,
there’s just an atmosphere in there that’s pretty incredible. It’s one of the
coolest places I’ve been as a player and I loved my time there obviously.
Hopefully I can be one of those guys they love to hate and have a great game.”
Hartnell has been productive with Columbus, posting 14 points (5 goals. 9
assists) in 15 games, but his team enters Friday on a nine-game losing streak
and is currently last in the Metropolitan Division with nine points.
Umberger only has a goal and two assists in 14 games this season, but his
Flyers are seven points ahead of Columbus in the division standings and enter
tonight on a three-game winning streak. Umberger, who is in his second stint
with the Flyers, spent six seasons with the Blue Jackets.
Columbus is still without a host of injured players, including forward Artem
Anisimov and former Flyer and Blue Jackets No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Anisimov and Bobrovsky practiced Thursday and traveled with the team to
Philadelphia, but neither is expected to play tonight.
The Blue Jackets will get defenseman Jack Johnson back tonight at least, as he
is through serving a three-game suspension for an illegal hit on Carolina’s
The Blue Jackets are mired in the worst losing streak in club history and the
0-8-1 slide is also tied for the franchise’s longest winless stretch.
Columbus has lost its last two in regulation and dropped a 4-2 decision in
Washington on Tuesday. Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson each scored twice to
help the Capitals deal the Jackets their ninth consecutive setback.
Cam Atkinson and David Savard lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets. Curtis
McElhinney allowed all four goals on 32 shots.
“All we can do is get up tomorrow morning and go to work,” said Columbus head
coach Todd Richards. “Take something from this game and get better and try to
get ready for the weekend. It starts with Friday in Philadelphia.”
The Flyers, meanwhile, enter this game well rested, having been idle since
posting a 4-3 win over visiting Colorado on Saturday. Claude Giroux picked up
a pair of goals and Jakub Voracek added three assists as Philly jumped out to
a 4-0 lead before hanging on for the close win. Voracek has reached the
scoresheet in eight straight games and can tie a personal best point streak
Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn also lit the lamp for the Flyers, who won
their fifth consecutive home contest and improved to 5-1-2 at Wells Fargo
Center this season. Steve Mason allowed three goals in the third, but ended up
with the win by making 36 saves.
“I thought we played a real solid first and second period but then it kinda
collapsed in the third,” Mason said. “The key there was we bend but we didn’t
break. That’s a good sign.”
Mason, a former Blue Jacket, is 1-1-0 with a 3.08 goals against average in two
outings against Columbus. It’s unclear if Mason will get the call in net
tonight or if Ray Emery will start for the first time since Oct. 30. With
Philadelphia scheduled to visit Montreal on Saturday, it’s likely both
goaltenders will be used over the next two days.
McElhinney is expected to start for Columbus and is 2-1-0 with a 3.35 GAA in
his career versus the Flyers.
Columbus has won three straight against the Flyers and has claimed five of the
past eight encounters in this series.
Philadelphia is 5-1-0 with a tie in the seven all-time encounters at Wells
Fargo Center, but the Blue Jackets’ only win in the City of Brotherly Love
came in the last meeting between the clubs on April 3. Bobrovsky posted a 37-
save shutout in the 2-0 win, while Mason took the loss.