October 18, 2018
The Jackets are in a gritty metropolitan division battle tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers and Jackets are similar and different in a lot of ways. The Flyers and Jackets have young offensive groups, but they Flyers is stronger; they both have elite young defensemen, with the Jackets more prominent, and the Flyers having more in numbers; and both having top
young goalies, with the Jackets working with it in the present, and the Flyers continue to develop.
The Flyers have made quite a few changes over the offseason. They off-loaded more players, and added quality. They left forwards Matt Read (MIN), Valtteri Flippula (NYI), and Colin McDonald walk; defensemen Will O'Neill and Brandon Manning (CHI) walk; and goalies John Muse (PIT), Dustin Tokarski (NYR), and Petr Mrazek (CAR) walk. They added goalie Calvin Pickard; defenseman
Christian Folin; and winger James van Reimsdyk. JvR started with Philadelphia, after being draft second overall, and was traded to Toronto for defenseman Luke Schenn. After six seasons away, JvR has come home, to make the Flyers one of the most dominant offensive groups in the entire NHL.
Both teams are battling the injury bug tonight. The Flyers are without goalie Michael Neuvrith; center Nolan Patrick; and winger James van Reimsdyk due to long-term injuries. The Blue Jackets are still without center Brandon Dubinsky and defenseman Seth Jones.
In terms of the lineups tonight, Bobrovsky will start between the pipes. Head coach John Tortorella confirmed that yesterday to the media. Also, defenseman Scott Harrington slides in for defenseman Adam Clendenning. Also, the Jackets will be debuting their Adidas 2018-2019 alternate third jerseys. Here comes the cannon!
Columbus Blue Jackets
Players to Watch
Philadelphia: Calvin Pickard. After being thrown around between the Avalanche; Golden Knights; Marlies; and Leafs, this is now the time for Pickard to hold the fort for the Black and Orange. Pickard has been a starting goalie in the NHL in the past, and with the continuous goaltender problems in Philadelphia, Pickard has his first opportunity to shine. Pickard relieved Elliott earlier in the week, but now has the full game to show his stuff to head coach Dave Hakstol.
Columbus: Anthony Duclair. Duclair scored his first goal the other night against Florida, and is continuing to work for the Jackets in the Top 6 Forward Group. Duclair has to continue to score and produce to keep in the mold, otherwise Torts will have to do some re-evaluating of the forwards.
Keys to Win:
1. Hold the Fort. Sergei Bobrovsky has been off to a rocky start for his contract year. Battling the offensive machine of the Flyers, his former team, is his time to shine and starting stringing confidence in him as well as his teammates.
2. Even Strength. In their last game against Tampa Bay, 4 of their eight goals came on the power play. Tampa had 7 opportunities 5v4. Team discipline has to be demonstrated to get points on the board in the standings.
3. Offense. Offense. Offense. Columbus has been able to light up the lamp, from their top scorers. 16 goals in 5 games is quite a bit, but with 19 against, it is a call to the offense as well as the defense to step up and contribute.
4. Gritty. For as much physicality as there is between the two teams, from guys like Jenner and Anderson against Simmonds and Gudas, expect the Flyers new mascot, Gritty to symbolize the teams this season as well as in the stands. Stinger and Boomer better get ready.
Enjoy this Metro Battle tonight!! More to come...