Technically, Petr Mrazek made his debut in a Philadelphia Flyers jersey on Tuesday, but he’ll get his first showing on the ice tonight when the team takes on the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. The game marks the second time the teams have played in less than a week in the ultra-tight Metropolitan Division.
Since the teams met last Friday, the Blue Jackets have played twice, winning once and now sit in a playoff spot with one point over the Carolina Hurricanes. Every game is important to the team as it tries to close out a playoff push.
The Flyers, though, have won two straight since, but lost Wayne Simmonds, Michal Neuvirth and possibly Travis Konecny to injury.
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Line Combinations: Courtesy of Daily Faceoff
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
All fans will be curious to see if Travis Konecny goes tonight. He didn’t finish the game Tuesday and was listed as “probable” for tonight’s game on Wednesday. He practiced today, but did labor his left foot. If he doesn’t play, it will surely cause some line juggling for coach Dave Hakstol. It will be tough to replace the second-year pro’s speed and shot, especially on the top line. Jori Lehtera also missed practice yesterday with an “illness”. Petr Mrazek will get his first shot in net as a Flyer, but the rest of the lineup stays the same.
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Jordan Weal – Nolan Patrick – Jake Voracek
Oskar Lindblom – Scott Laughton – Michael Raffl
Jori Lehtera – Valtteri Filppula – Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg – Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning – Radko Gudas
Columbus: Blue Jackets Line Combinations
Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty much a similar Columbus lineup that the Flyers saw last week. The team called up Nathan Gerbe yesterday, so he could check into the lineup on the fourth line. Besides that, the Blue Jackets are healthy and should have a complete lineup.
Artemi Panarin – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner – Alexander Wennberg – Oliver Bjorkstrand
Matt Calvert – Brandon Dubinsky – Josh Anderson
Markus Hannikainen – Lukas Sedlak – Zac Dalpe
Zach Werenski – Seth Jones
Jack Johnson – Ryan Murray
Scott Harrington – David Savard
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
Mrazek will be the player to watch for Flyers fans, but to everyone’s expectations, it will be the other goalie in net that could make the biggest impact. Sergei Bobrovsky is the Blue Jackets’ best player and is a frequent thorn in the Flyers’ side. The team can’t afford to miss any opportunities on the Russian netminder.
Jake Voracek claimed after the game against the Montreal Canadiens that the Flyers were no longer looking behind them and now in front of them in the standings. This will be a good game to test if the team is truly ready to compete for the top two spots in the Metropolitan. The Blue Jackets may be below them in the standings, but Philadelphia had issues scoring against them last week and Columbus’ defense ranks among the best in the league.
Last game, the Flyers top six just looked off. Forwards ran into each other a few times and the team just didn’t look as fluid in the offensive zone as it normally does. The second line was changed up, but even the first line struggled often. It doesn’t help that Konecny is only probable to play tonight and didn’t look ready in practice. Philly will have a tough time scoring if the first two lines aren’t working properly — especially against a goalie like Bobrovsky.