Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Philadelphia Flyers Pregame

The Columbus Blue Jackets face division rival Philadelphia Flyers in a critical battle tonight in Philly. The Jackets sit four points behind the third place Flyers, and currently hold the final Eastern Conference Wild Card spot with 83 points. Tonight is a golden opportunity for the Jackets to gain some ground on the tight Metropolitan Division race.

Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The top Eastern Conference Wild Card holder, Detroit, beat Boston last night, and the Jackets now trail them by three points. On the back end, the Jackets are trialed by Washington with 81 points and Toronto with 83 points. A win tonight would go a long way toward securing a Playoff spot.

But this isn’t going to be an easy game. Nikita Nikitin is out of the lineup with injury tonight, and Ryan Murray is on the trip but not quite ready to play. So it looks like the Jackets will have to play someone who doesn’t usually get ice time, likely their new pickup Nick Schultz. The defense will have quite the challenge tonight. They need to overcome blowing the 2-0 lead on Tuesday, and also keep in mind that the Flyers scored five third period goals against the Jackets last time they met in Philly. Not good precedents, but hopefully some new ones will be set tonight.

Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

One important precedent for the Jackets to overcome is the fact that they have never won a single game in Philadelphia. EVER. Tonight would certainly be a good place to start. The Jackets are 2-1 against Philly this season, but both wins were on home ice. This would be the perfect time to end the Philly losing streak and leave with two lucrative points in hand.

Tonight is the first of back-to-back games for the Jackets. They haven’t done so well on the first night of back-to-backs this season, and tend to come back and win more the second game. Seems like tonight needs to be one of breaking tradition. Hope they can pull it off! Go Jackets!

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