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Flyers Absolutely Torched by Shorthanded Blue Jackets, 6-2

(Joe Maiorana/Asssociated Press)

The Philadelphia Flyers’ push for the playoffs might be coming to an end – if it hasn’t ended by now. Against the shorthanded Columbus Blue Jackets who were without 10 skaters and both of their goaltenders, the Flyers were cooked 6-2 for their seventh straight defeat.

The Blue Jackets got all six goals off the stick of their defensemen with Erik Gudbranson scoring the game’s opening goal midway through the first period and then Damon Severson scoring his first of two at the end of the first period and then adding the other one midway through the second.

Olle Lycksell scored his first career NHL goal to cut the deficit to 3-1 but 48 seconds later Nick Blankenburg scored his first of the season to quell any sort of potential momentum. Zach Werenski then scored two goals in a span of 55 seconds midway through the third period, effectively putting a nail in the Flyers’ coffin.

Adam Ginning scored his first career goal as well with less than 5 minutes remaining in the contest. Samuel Ersson allowed 6 goals on 34 shots while Jet Greaves made 37 saves on 39 shots for his second win of the season.

The free-falling Flyers entered tonight’s must-win contest against the Blue Jackets having lost their last 6 games and being on the outside looking in for the first time in nearly 4 months. With the Pittsburgh Penguins having won earlier in the day, they leap-frogged the Flyers for the final wild card spot on a tie-breaker.

Samuel Ersson returned in goal after making way for Ivan Fedotov last night, Adam Ginning and Ronnie Attard also returned into the lineup in lieu of Marc Staal and Erik Johnson, but the rest of the lineup remained intact.

As for the Blue Jackets, they entered tonight with a 25-39-12 record which was good for last in the Metropolitan Division, last in the Eastern Conference, and 4th last in the NHL. It is a lineup besieged with injuries as they were without 10 regulars and two goaltenders as Jet Greaves earned his fourth start of the season with a 3.04 GAA and a .917 SV% while holding just a 1-3-0 record.

Offensively they were paced by Johnny Gaudreau‘s 45 assists and 56 points in 76 games, he was followed by Zach Werenski‘s 42 assists and 49 points, and Kirill Marchenko‘s 21 goals and 39 points rounded out the top of the order. Captain Boone Jenner paced the club with 22 goals but was away for personal reasons. Former Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov is the only Blue Jacket to have played in every game this season and brought about 5 goals and 31 points.


Just 1:58 into the game, Nick Blankenburg was assessed a double-minor high-sticking penalty after clipping Bobby Brink in the neutral zone. It wasn’t as uneventful as some of their previous power play attempts as they did fire 6 shots towards Jet Greaves but they still looked a little discombobulated and everything was from the outside.

The Flyers were playing very sloppily on and off the puck and with that the Columbus Blue Jackets struck to open the scoring after Erik Gudbranson‘s point shot with traffic in front of the net got past Samuel Ersson at the 12:08 mark. The Flyers turned it over behind the net for their sixth giveaway of the period, which allowed the Blue Jackets to cycle and set up for Gudbranson’s sixth goal of the season.

Cam Atkinson jumped on a loose puck and jettisoned on a breakaway against his former club but lost control on his deke attempt as he ran out of room with the defensemen closing in. Atkinson has not scored a goal since the 25th of January – a stretch of 20 games. Then a few moment later, the Flyers headed out on a 3-on-1 break but Travis Konecny‘s one-timer went high and wide.

With just 1:06 remaining in the period, the Blue Jackets doubled their lead after Zach Werenski found his defensive partner Damon Severson on the weak-side for a one-time blast that beat Ersson with relative ease. The Blue Jackets jumped on another turnover before quickly setting up Severson’s eighth goal of the season – on their 29th shot attempt of the period.

The period came to a very (un)surprising end as the Flyers were down 2-0 on the scoreboard and 14-10 on the shot clock.


3:21 into the second period, Scott Laughton was assessed an elbowing minor but fortunately were able to kill it off as the 30th ranked power play of the Blue Jacket struggled to set up.

At the 8:23 mark of the second period, Severson scored his second of the game after Johnny Gaudreau threaded the needle to find the defenseman for another one-timer to put the Flyers down 3-0. Severson was left unmarked after initially passing it off to Gaudreau which brought a swarm of white sweaters towards the playmaker.

With a delayed penalty coming against the Blue Jackets, the listless power play didn’t have to come on the ice because Olle Lycksell was able to bury the one-time feed from Garnet Hathaway for his first NHL goal at the 14:32 mark. The rookie had been snake-bitten for quite some time with 11 scoring chances over his last 5 games alone.

The Blue Jackets responded almost immediately after Blankenburg’s point shot travelled through the tiniest gap between Kirill Marchenko and Travis Sanheim and then over the glove of Ersson to reclaim the 3-goal lead. It only took them 48 seconds to quell any kind of momentum the Flyers could’ve built on Lycksell’s first career tally.

The period came to a close with the Blue Jackets ahead 4-1 after a backbreaking goal from Blankenburg just 41 seconds after the Flyers clawed their way back in,


With 12:43 remaining in regulation, Ersson was called for a tripping minor as he upended Carson Meyer on his breakaway attempt. Konecny was then sent to the sin bin for a ticky-tacky slashing minor 8 seconds after Ersson’s penalty was killed. 4 seconds into the power play, Werenski’s simple point shot travelled through a sea of bodies, deflected off a Flyer defender, and found a way past Ersson for his 8th of the season.

Less than a minute later the Blue Jackets recorded their 6th goal off the stick of a defensemen after Werenski scored his 2nd goal in 55 seconds after jumping on a loose puck in the slot that deflected off the skate of Nick Seeler.

With 4:52 remaining in the game, Adam Ginning scored his first career goal as well after his point shot travelled through a maze of bodies and past a befuddled Greaves. Ronnie Attard earned the primary assist for the set up.


The Flyers head north of the border for a rematch against the Montréal Canadiens (7:00pm ET, NBCSP) on Tuesday night at Bell Centre.

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