In this recurring post, I ask some questions to a staff writer or editor of an opposing team’s FanSided Blog. This week, I interviewed the co-editors of the Philadelphia Flyer’s blog, Broad Street Buzz.
The Columbus Blue Jackets play the Philadelphia Flyers twice in three days, once in Philly and once in Columbus. This will be Steve Mason‘s first trip back to Columbus since being traded at the deadline last season.
U&B: What has been the biggest strength for the Philadelphia Flyers so far?
David: As a whole, goaltending and team defense. The Flyers were saved time and time again by Steve Mason and Ray Emery early in the year. They continue to be a bright spot on the team. Over the past few games, however, the top line of Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek has been on fire while Mason seems to have hit a bit of a rough patch.
Tom: Goaltending has kept this team from falling into the cellar of the Eastern Conference. While the overall team defense has improved, the defensive unit has had several lapses, most notably the team’s most recent road game in Washington where they gave up a 4-1 lead with less than 10 minutes to play. Several goals were redirected or tipped in off a Flyers’ defenseman.
Steve Mason has had a few rough starts, but his last three starts have shown me his true character. During his last three starts on the Flyers’ six-game road trip, Mason was 1-1-1 with a 3.66 goals against average and a .884 save percentage. Since then, he has looked much better. He was 55 seconds away from a shutout against the Montreal Canadiens. I did not put much of Sunday afternoon’s third period debacle on Mason. Tuesday night, he looked great again.
After the meltdown against the Chicago Blackhawks, head coach Craig Berube shook up the top two lines and swapped Michael Raffl for Scott Hartnell. The move has paid huge dividends thus far. The Raffl-Giroux-Voracek line has totaled 14 points in three games.
U&B: Who should the Columbus Blue Jackets look out for on the ice?
David: Sean Couturier. He is playing on the “third-line”, but the line has been one of the Flyers’ best all season. He is great at shutting down the opponents top players and has a lot of offensive skills. He seems to be breaking out this season. He is very similar, in my opinion, to Ryan Johansen, but Couturier’s offensive game is still developing.
Tom: Aside from the first line, the Blue Jackets should look out for Mark Streit. He has three points in his last four games. He has also scored two goals in as many games. One of his goals from Tuesday night’s game against the Capitals was a wicked one-timer from the point. Jakub Voracek has also scored points in his last five games.
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