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Flyers vs. Blue Jackets preview: Finally, a team in the Metro!

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Goodbye, Western Conference teams

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Happy gameday, everybody! The Flyers just did a good thing, picking up their first win at home on Tuesday, and they’re in Columbus to face off against the Blue Jackets tonight, looking to pick up their first win streak of the season. Is it too soon to start talking about that? Okay, fine.

The Blue Jackets are off to a pretty good start, sitting at third in the Metro (having totaled six points, the same as the Flyers, just in one fewer game). They’re a team that’s given the Flyers some trouble recently, but they will be without one of their key pieces in Seth Jones, sidelined with a knee injury. This hasn’t been a death blow to the Blue Jackets, but they’ve almost certainly felt the loss. And it may just give the Flyers a bit of space to work with. We’re narrativizing (it’s a word, shut up) this matchup, but we just cannot help it. Let’s jump into a few more of our accompanying points.

1. A full 60 minutes, boys

So Tuesday’s game got a little ugly. We feel pretty comfortable saying that, right? The Flyers came out flat in the first period, and then started to slip a bit there in the third period. They didn’t put up a complete effort, and they got burned for it. And they can’t do that again. With weapons like Artemi Panarin, we know this team can score—they put up three or more goals in three of their first five games (five in two). In short, the Flyers can’t afford to be giving up chances for free. Maybe Cal Pickard is absolutely stellar, and he makes some huge saves for them, but they shouldn’t bank on this either. They need to show up, and they need to show up for the whole 60 minutes. Columbus isn’t going to cut them any slack, and they can’t be shooting themselves in the foot like they were on Tuesday. Clean up the passing, get settled, and keep with the good work.

2. Do goals

There’s one big reasons the Flyers have struggled so mightily against the Blue Jackets of late is because of one Sergei Bobrobsky. All signs point to him getting the start tonight, so the Flyers are going to have to do All Of The Offense if they want to try to beat them. We don’t want a repeat of Saturday, where they ran into a hot goalie and couldn’t manage to get one past him. They’re facing another very good goalie again tonight, and they need to find a way to convert on those chances,to give themselves the best chance to do so in the first place. None of this firing away from the point and hoping one might sneak by—if they must do this, make sure a guy is parked in front first, or place as much emphasis on creating high danger chances on the rush. Beating Bobrovsky isn’t impossible, certainly not, but they’ll have their work cut out for them, and they’ll need to get to work by creating the most and highest quality chances they can.

3. Changes abound?

We may well also be seeing some new (or new-ish) looks in the lineup tonight. With notes from practice yesterday suggesting that the Flyers will be more or less keeping with what the changes made before and during Tuesday’s game, it seems like we’ll be getting a longer look at the new things. What this means:

With Andrew MacDonald’s wife having just had a baby, and with MacDonald having noted that he came back from injury too soon and that they’re in reset mode right now, we may see him out of the lineup for another game tonight, which also means we get a longer look at Christian Folin, who was actually very solid in Tuesday’s game despite looking a little rough in his first few games.

Also, it’s Corban Knight time, everybody! He was just activated and given a real number, so we figured it was only a matter of time before we saw him make his regular season debut. And it looks like the time is now! He’ll be slotting in on the fourth line, and may be getting some PK time. He was good there for the Phantoms, so hopefully he can help out. They could use it.

The downside to this is that it puts Mikhail Vorobyev in the press box. We probably could have seen it coming—he’s been just fine so far this season, and then got the bump down to the fourth line in Tuesday’s game. And, you know, it’s pretty critical for the kids to get some learning in from the press box. The time has come (whether we like it or not).

Puck drops at 7:00 tonight, and you can check put the rest of the Flyers’ prospective lineup below.

Forwards

Giroux — Couturier — Voracek

Lindblom — Weal — Konecny

Raffl — Laughton — Simmonds

Weise — Lehtera — Knight

Defense

Provorov — Gostisbehere

Hagg — Folin

Sanheim — Gudas

Goalie

Pickard

(Elliott)