Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers at Columbus Blue Jackets

A win against the Vancouver Canucks in regulation is something that the Philadelphia Flyers can sink their teeth into. No points were awarded to the Canucks and the Flyers created optimal space between them on the standings. That’s how wins need to happen. Carter Hart did a fantastic job in net to win in regulation and Jakub Voracek found his swagger. In regulation, Philadelphia won, 2-1.

The Philadelphia Flyers are entering a stretch of three games in four days to close out November. Against Metropolitan Division opponents, the Flyers earned points in their last five meetings. One of the toughest opponents they have faced in the Metropolitan Division as of late is the Columbus Blue Jackets. When games are played on the home ice of the Blue Jackets, Philadelphia has lost 13 of their last 14 games. Columbus has scored the first goal in the last eight games and all of their ten wins came after scoring first.

Brian Elliott will get the start in net tonight for the Philadelphia Flyers while Joonas Korpisalo will start for the Columbus Blue Jackets. After Carter Hart secured the uncommon regulation victory for the Flyers, Elliott will try his hand. In the last ten games, the Blue Jackets have the edge, 6-4. Earlier this season, Philadelphia won in regulation, 7-4. Columbus lists Brandon Dubinsky (wrist) and Markus Nutivaara (IR) on their injury report.

Columbus Blue Jackets – Skaters

Pierre-Luc Dubois is the leading scorer on the Columbus Blue Jackets. The left-winger has 17 points on the season, ten goals and seven assists. Most of his assists come on the powerplay and the high majority of his goals are during even-strength hockey. He’s scoring on 17.9% of the shots he takes this season. Looking at his style of play, Dubois is more potent on the powerplay unit.

An important piece on defense is Markus Nutivaara, who is on injured reserve. The next piece on defense is David Savard. With a +/- of -2 on the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t play great team defense. Savard has three points on the season, all assists. He is very physical on defense, piling 36 hits and stopping 37 shots.

Columbus Blue Jackets – Goaltending

Joonas Korpisalo secured a shutout for the Columbus Blue Jackets last game against the Ottawa Senators. He seems to have the hot hand as of this moment, which could be an advantage against Brian Elliott. Korpisalo has started 18 games this season, winning ten. In his starts, he’s preserved a 90.2% save percentage and yielded a 2.86 goal against average. Elliott is statistically better this season than Korpisalo.

Faceoff Possession

Between the two franchises, the Philadelphia Flyers are the only ones with a team faceoff percentage over 50%. The Columbus Blue Jackets are at 49% while the Flyers maintain 54.5%. On the Blue Jackets, the best faceoff opportunists are Jakob Lilja, Gustav Nyquist, and Cam Atkinson. For Philadelphia, the Flyers look to Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and James van Riemsdyk. The advantage here stays with Philadelphia.

Prediction

Coming into this game, the Philadelphia Flyers are fairing a little bit better this season. The Flyers have five points on the Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division standings and could be tied with third place with a win tonight. This must be a regulation victory for Philadelphia to create more distance between their division rivals. Look for a powerplay goal from the Flyers tonight to help them finish this game. Let’s take Philadelphia to win one on the road and change fortune at Nationwide Arena!

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The money line favors the Columbus Blue Jackets at -115 with an over-under set at 6. Follow me at EricReesePSN and Philly Sports Network at PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!

 Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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