(SportsNetwork.com) – The Philadelphia Flyers hope to avoid posting their
longest losing streak of the season on Saturday night as they play host to the
Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time in a little over a week.
The Flyers have lost four straight in regulation, matching their longest
winless drought of the campaign first set with an 0-2-2 start to the season.
Philadelphia was edged 3-2 on home ice by Minnesota on Thursday night, with
the Wild’s Jason Zucker putting home the game-winning goal with 45.4 seconds
left to play.
Claude Giroux had tied the game on a Philadelphia power play with 3:30
remaining in regulation. Mark Streit also scored and Ray Emery made 26 saves
for the Flyers.
“Of course it’s a tough way to lose,” said Giroux. “We played the right way
the whole game and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Jakub Voracek, meanwhile, notched his NHL-leading 20th assist and 27th point
of the season. He has a point in 10 straight home games, logging five goals
and 11 assists over that time.
Though Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto sat out the game with a lower-body
ailment and forward Chris VandeVelde sustained a lower-body injury in the
contest that has him day-to-day, the club did get a pair of blueliners back in
Andrew MacDonald returned after missing 10 games in a row with a lower-body
issue, while Luke Schenn played for the first time in four contests after
battling an upper-body injury.
The Flyers seem likely to start goaltender Steve Mason, who spent his first
four-plus NHL seasons with Columbus and is 1-2-0 with a 3.42 goals against
average and .894 save percentage in three career meetings with his former
That includes a 4-3 loss in Philadelphia on Nov. 14, when Mason yielded all
four Blue Jackets goals on 38 shots.
Giroux, Voracek and Del Zotto all scored in the loss, while Columbus got a
pair of goals from both James Wisniewski and Nick Foligno to snap a nine-game
overall losing streak and beat the Flyers for a fourth straight game.
Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves as Columbus won its second straight in
McElhinney could face the Flyers again tonight after Sergei Bobrovsky started
last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins. Bobrovsky did his part by
coming up with 38 saves, then stopping the first six skaters he faced in the
shootout until getting beaten by Alex Khokhlachev in the seventh round.
Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno scored first-period goals for the Blue Jackets
and that edge held until Boston scored three times in the third. Jack Johnson,
though, secured extra time by scoring on a feed from Johansen with 7:13 left
“To take a 2-0 lead into the third period and come away with one point, it
feels like a loss,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said.
Foligno’s goal was his team-leading 10th of the season and he is second on the
club with 20 points.