Flyers Haven’t Won in Columbus in Years & Nothing Changes Friday

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, February 15, 2018 4:09 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 4:09 PM UTC

The Philadelphia Flyers suffered a devastating injury recently, and that makes it even less likely they win at their house of horrors, Columbus, on Friday night.

Philadelphia Flyers at Columbus Blue JacketsFree NHL Pick: Blue JacketsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Four games on the NHL schedule Friday, and the first to start is Philadelphia visiting Columbus with a 7 p.m. ET puck drop. It’s an important one with both teams fighting for a playoff spot and could prove to have tiebreaker ramifications. The teams play twice more, both in Philadelphia: next Thursday and March 15.

The Blue Jackets could guarantee they don’t lose the season series (which could be vital) with a victory because they beat the visiting Flyers 2-1 in a shootout on Dec. 23. Pierre-Luc DuBois scored his first shootout goal on his first attempt for the win. Seth Jones had the regulation goal on the power play, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots. Ivan Provorov scored for Philly in the second period to tie it, and Brian Elliott made 35 saves. More on him in a second.

For whatever reason, some teams have trouble with others regardless of how good each is during a given season. That’s the case here as Philadelphia has won just three of the past 17 in the series.

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Elliott Injury Crushing For Flyers

With 66 points, the Flyers are in the playoffs as things currently stand, but I’m not confident they will get there in the wake of losing their No. 1 netminder in Elliott for 5-6 weeks following core muscle surgery earlier this week. He was originally hurt last Saturday against Arizona. Elliott, signed as a free agent this past offseason, has 21-11-7 record with a 2.72 goals-against average and .908 save percentage on the season. Those numbers are just so-so, but since the Flyers ended a 10-game losing streak, Elliott had been 15-5-1 with a 2.51 GAA and .912 save percentage. He also missed four games from Jan. 25-Feb. 3.

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Flyers goalie Brian Elliott injured in shootout, relived by Michal Neuvirth who becomes first goalie since advent of shootout (2005-06) to win a game in which he did not get credit for any time played

— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) February 11, 2018

Will the Flyers add goalie by the Feb. 26 trade deadline or cast their lot with Michal Neuvirth? He has been solid enough at 7-7-3 with a 2.58 GAA and .915 SV but really isn’t a No. 1. The Flyers are 1-1 since Elliott went down with Neuvirth playing great in a 4-1 upset in Las Vegas last Sunday but not well in a 5-4 home shootout loss to New Jersey on Tuesday.

What if Neuvirth gets hurt? His backup is Alex Lyon, who was recalled from the team’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley. Lyon has three games of NHL service under his belt and is 0-1-1 with a 3.93 GAA and .860 SV. Look for Philly to add someone by the deadline, just not some big name.

Columbus (62 points) is just outside the playoff field currently and hasn’t really been the same team that began the year 15-7-1. The Blue Jackets haven’t been able to string together three straight wins since and have dropped nine of 13. This team just can’t score, ranking 28th in goals and dead last with a power-player percentage of 14.7 percent. Columbus doesn’t have a player with more than 17 goals.

Sergei Bobrovsky is one of the NHL’s top goalies but hasn’t been quite Vezina caliber for a while, although he does enter off back-to-back wins for the first time since early January. He was given Wednesday night off as Columbus was smashed 6-3 in Toronto. One positive from the game was the Blue Jackets putting a whopping 57 shots on goal. It was the team’s third straight game with at least 50 shots, becoming the first club to accomplish the feat in the post-expansion era (since 1967-68). Columbus leads the NHL in averaging 34.9 shots per game but is last in shooting percentage at 7.4.

Should be Bobrovsky back in there, and he has been much better at home this year with a 2.10 GAA and .933 SV with four shutouts. The Blue Jackets have won their past 11 at home vs. Philadelphia. Thus, Columbus is the Friday NHL pick.

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