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Home-and-Home, Part Two: Philadelphia Flyers Travel to Columbus to Take on the Blue Jackets Tonight

December 21st, 2013 at 6:58 PM
By Scott Erik Anderson

Thursday night, many would have thought the Philadelphia Flyers were going to lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets as they were trailing the Blue Jackets 3-0 heading into the third period. Jakub Voracek started the rally and Claude Giroux finished it out. With momentum on their side, the Flyers are looking to sweep the home-and-home series against the Blue Jackets tonight and put themselves at two games over .500 for the first time this season.

tonyjuliano / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: tonyjuliano / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

PLAYERS TO WATCH

CLAUDE GIROUXGiroux had by far his best game of the season Thursday night. He led the Flyers to a 5-4 third period comeback win against the Blue Jackets in the Wells Fargo Center. While most of the Flyers fans began thinking this was going to end up another loss heading into the third period, Giroux finished off the comeback with the game-tying and game-winning goals. 

In addition to the two goals, Giroux also notched two assists in the third period. In the past five games, Giroux has had four goals and six assists. It certainly seems like head coach Craig Berube's decision to put Michael Raffl on the top line with Giroux and Jakub Voracek is really paying off. Those three have scored nine goals and notched 13 assists combined since being put together. With momentum in Giroux's favor, look for him to come away with at least two assists tonight in Columbus.

MICHAEL RAFFL and JAKUB VORACEKThese two needed to be mentioned in the "Players to Watch" section because, not only do they round out the rest of the top line, they have brought Giroux and the Flyers top line back to life recently. Raffl ended Thursday's game with an assist to Giroux's game-tying goal while Voracek had a goal and two assists. The top line finished with seven points Thursday night. 

NICKLAS GROSSMANN — Grossmann is one of the standout defensemen on the Flyers this season as he has blocked 92 shots so far. The Flyers have played 35 games this season and Grossmann's personal best is 100 blocked shots. At this rate, he is going to shatter his personal best and possibly double that by the end of the season.

UPDATED @ 7:01 P.M.

Grossman is out of tonight's game with the flu. Hal Gill will be playing in his place.

LECAVALIER IN, DOWNIE OUT

Vinny Lecavalier will be making his return to the lineup tonight in place of Steve Downie. Lecavalier has sat out the past nine games due to a back injury. The last time he played was on November 30 when the Flyers played the Nashville Predators. Lecavalier was expected to miss between three and four weeks due to a non-displaced back fracture. That announcement was made on December 9. This is not the first time Lecavalier has missed time this season as he has now missed a total of 13 games.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren made the announcement today that Steve Downie will be out for the next seven to 10 days with an upper-body injury.

BLUE JACKETS SEE RETURN OF GABORIK AND WISNIEWSKI

After spending some time on the injured reserve this season, the Blue Jackets will have forward Marian Gaborik and defenseman James Wisniewski back in the lineup tonight. Gaborik has been on the injured reserve since November 14 with a knee injury. Wisniewski has been on the injured reserve since December 6 with an unspecified upper-body injury. Columbus strongly welcomes them both back as Gaborik is one of their snipers and Wisniewski is one of their best, hard-hitting defensemen.


Tags: Blue Jackets, Claude Giroux, Columbus Blue Jackets, Hockey, Jakub Voracek, Michael Raffl, NHL, Nicklas Grossman, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Flyers, Vinny Lecavalier

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