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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 21st (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (16-15-4) at Columbus Blue Jackets (14-17-4), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After a spirited comeback lifted Philadelphia to an eighth straight victory at home, the Flyers aim to find the win column again on Saturday night as they wrap a home-and-home series with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Philadelphia scored five times in the third period on Thursday, erasing deficits of 3-0 and 4-2 to best Columbus. Claude Giroux notched two assists before scoring the final two goals of the 5-4 win.
Giroux scored twice in a 2:08 span, tying the game when he put home a rebound before notching his 100th career goal with 1:38 left on the clock. The highlight-reel tally saw the forward whip home a backhander top shelf with his back to the net.
"It's just that kind of game when you get the bounces. Sometimes you don't get the bounces but we got them this time," said Giroux when asked if this was the kind of game where more was expected of a team captain.
Giroux has four goals and six assists over a five-game point streak, while forward and former Blue Jacket Jakub Voracek has six goals and four assists over a six-game run. He scored and assisted on two others in Thursday's win, which pushed the Flyers to 3-0-1 in their last four.
Braydon Coburn and Erik Gustafsson also scored in the third period and Steve Mason made 25 saves in facing his former club for the first time.
"Yeah it was not exactly how I drew it up on the board but you know sometimes your team comes through for you and that feels great," Mason admitted.
The netminder was a third-round draft pick by Columbus in 2006 and spent his first four-plus seasons in the NHL with the Blue Jackets before getting dealt to Philadelphia in April of this year. The 25-year-old had his best season in Columbus as a rookie in 2008-09, when he won the Calder Trophy and led the Blue Jackets to their one and only playoff appearance.
It is unknown if Mason will get the start tonight in his return to Columbus or if Ray Emery will get the call in net. Emery is 3-0-1 with a 2.56 goals against average in his career versus the Jackets.
Cam Atkinson, Jack Skille and Nick Foligno tallied for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three straight, while Curtis McElhinney yielded five goals on 39 shots faced.
"I'm extremely disappointed in how we mismanaged the game," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "We should be angry and upset after this. At least I hope our players are."
Richards could have some reinforcements tonight as both forward Marian Gaborik and defenseman James Wisniewski may return from injury.
Gaborik, who has five goals and 11 points in 17 games this season, has not played since Nov. 14 due to a sprained left knee, while Wisniewski has missed the last six with an upper-body injury.
McElhinney, meanwhile, is expected to get the start after falling to 1-1-0 with a 3.54 GAA in two starts versus the Flyers.
Columbus fell to 0-5-0 with a tie all-time in Philadelphia and is 2-2-0 with a pair of ties in franchise history when facing the Flyers at home.
12/21 11:05:28 ET
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