Cam Atkinson returns to Columbus to take on his former team as the Philadelphia Flyers travel to the Discovery City. Twice this season, the Columbus Blue Jackets won in Philadelphia.
Tonight is a rubber match after a 4-2 loss earlier this week. Elvis Merzlikins was incredible at the Wells Fargo Center, stopping 47/49 shots on goal. The Blue Jackets dialed in on Ronnie Attard and Keith Yandle, exposing a vulnerable defensive third pair. Tonight, Merzlikins goes head-to-head against Martin Jones.
Will the Flyers get back into the win column, avoiding the season sweep?
Columbus Blue Jackets (33-32-6; 72pts)
Boone Jenner (lower body,) Alexandre Texier (finger,) Daniil Tarasov (hip,) and Joonas Korpisalo (hip) are unavailable. Yegor Chinakhov (upper body) remains scratched from the lineup. Gabriel Carlsson, Dean Kukan, and Gavin Bayreuther are healthy scratches.
Merzlikins (23-18-6, 3.37GAA, 90.4%SV) stole the show, earning the victory on Tuesday as the first star of the game. His career numbers improved against the Philadelphia Flyers to 2-1-1 in four career games with a 2.9GAA and 91.4%SV, comparably above-average to his 2021-2022 season metrics.
Zach Werenski (50.5CF%, 88BLK, 36TK, -13) earns the home spotlight at the Nationwide Arena. Werenski was dominant on the ice earlier this week in a 4-2 win against the Flyers. During the game, he added an assist when Carson Meyer scored his first career NHL goal. Poised in the defensive zone, look for Werenski to do better at taking away shooting lanes tonight after Merzlikins’ active night on Tuesday.
Philadelphia Flyers (22-37-11; 55pts)
Jones (9-14-3, 3.38GAA, 90.2%SV) was victorious in his last start. He saved 43/46 in a shootout victory against the New York Rangers. In seven career games, Jones is 3-4-0 with a 3.4GAA and 88.4%SV.
Not putting the spotlight on Atkinson is a tough call. He returns home, but Travis Konecny (12G, 31A) gets the honor. Tonight’s forecast includes a Konecny assist on an Atkinson goal. Dial-up a powerplay goal for the Flyers.
(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)