The Columbus Blue Jackets take on a Gritty-less Philadelphia Flyers squad in Columbus tonight.
The first game in almost five days for the Columbus Blue Jackets comes in the form of a big divisional matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are coming off a home shootout win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
Ahead of the game we talked to BroadStreetBuzz.com site expert Ben Gabrych about everything Flyers from Gritty to goaltending. Be sure to follow Ben on Twitter and check out his writings, and his team’s work, over at BroadStreetBuzz.com.
Lansing Murphy (LM): You’re probably sick of answering this question but we have to ask, what’s your opinion on Gritty?
Columbus Blue Jackets
Ben Gabrych (BG): Gritty is a national treasure. I’ve been a fan from the start. He’s a big, orange, lovable goofball. I think the Flyers did a great job of getting people talking and also getting some fans to change their opinions on him. I can see why Gritty isn’t for everyone, but he’s a mascot at the end of the day.
BG: Travis has been creating chances, but just can’t cash in on them. He looked really good with Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom against San Jose, and were top three among Flyers players in scoring chances for percentage at 5 on 5, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. Travis will turn it around sooner rather than later. He’s just a bit snake bitten right now.
As for Provorov, he still looks solid on the defensive end but hasn’t been looking to score as much this year. He’s only registered four shots on goal in five games at even strength for the Flyers per hockeyreference.com.
I think this is because he’s paired with Shayne Gostisbehere, the more offensively gifted of the two, and playing more of a stay-at-home role at the moment. I have no idea why, what made them so dynamic together was them both being active in the offensive zone, but it seems that’s whats going on.
LM: A lot of people, including myself, had the Flyers making the playoffs again this year out of the Metro. Is their goaltending good enough for that to happen?
BG: Brian Elliott has looked better than his numbers would tell, especially in the game against Vegas. The Flyers defense has left him on an island at times. It really all comes down to health and consistency. I think they’re good enough talent wise, but durability will be key.
LM: What scares you most about this Columbus Blue Jackets team?
BG: Artemi Panarin. He is a difference maker on the ice and can score almost at will.
LM: How does tonights game play out?
Thanks again to Ben for talking with us, even though his prediction is terrible.