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Reply To: NHL • Saturday Service Plays • 12/5/15

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Preview: Columbus at Philadelphia

When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Flyers are a different team lately and carry a season-high four-game winning streak into Saturday’s contest with the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. “It feels good,” Wayne Simmonds told reporters after Philadelphia’s 2-1 overtime victory at New Jersey on Friday in which the right wing scored for the fourth time in his last three games. “Guys are confident in our team. We’re doing the right things. We have confidence on the bench, and I think it shows.”

Flyers captain Claude Giroux boasts a team-high 22 points after recording a goal and an assist Friday, giving him nine points (three goals) in the last six games. “I really believe we’re not getting as frustrated as we used to,” Giroux told reporters. “We’re a (confident) bunch, we have each other’s back and we support each other on the ice so we’re not worried about mistakes, and when mistakes happen, we make sure it doesn’t happen again. …” Columbus has lost three straight (0-2-1) following a 2-1 shootout loss to Florida on Friday and has scored one goal in each game during the slide. “To me, it was a little bit of lack of respect for the opponent,” coach John Tortorella said after falling to 10-9-1 since taking over the Blue Jackets after their 0-7-0 start. “And I don’t understand how we can disrespect an opponent when we’re looking up at all 29 teams. It’s another lesson that we’re going to have to learn.”

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), CSN Philadelphia

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (10-16-1): Columbus actually has more points than Carolina and Calgary (20 apiece), but the frustration is starting to show in Tortorella as the Blue Jackets were tied 1-1 in the third period in each of the last three games. Scott Hartnell, who is tied for second on the team in goals (nine) and points (16), was a healthy scratch Friday after going minus-3 in four games. Columbus continues to struggle on the power play as it went 0-for-4 on Friday and is 0-for-23 over the last nine contests.

ABOUT THE FLYERS (11-10-5): Right wing Jakub Voracek scored 22, 23 and 22 goals over the past three seasons but is stuck on one in 2015-16, although he recorded two assists Friday and has six in his last six games. Philadelphia scored twice on the power play Friday, but its short-handed unit permitted two goals after yielding zero in 20 opportunities over the previous seven contests. The Flyers have outscored opponents 14-7 during their winning streak.


1. Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin (broken nose) missed his sixth straight game Friday and is questionable to play Saturday.

2. Philadelphia is 2-2-0 in the second contest of back-to-back games this season while Columbus is 2-5-0 in such contests.

3. The Blue Jackets have won three straight meetings and seven of the last eight encounters, including four of five last season.

PREDICTION: Flyers 3, Blue Jackets 2