Two enormous points were on the line Thursday night in South Philadelphia. Columbus was looking to open their lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Wild Card to three points with a game in hand while Philadelphia was looking to run down the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.
If the Flyers really wanted to catch New York for home ice advantage, you would not have known it by the way they came out in the first period. Sloppiness was the theme as the Blue Jackets were whistled for three penalties in the opening frame but the Flyers could only muster two shots on the power plays.
Missed passes, giveaways and poor position plagued the Flyers while the Blue Jackets didn’t fare much better as they went to the locker rooms scoreless.
Whatever Craig Berube said to the Flyers during the intermission translated to the ice as the Flyers came out with some jump. They fired 17 shots at Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in the second period alone. Unfortunately, the former-Flyers netminder stood tall for the Blue Jackets.
Late in the second period with Columbus on their fourth power play of the game, Mark Lestestu found James Wisniewski who was able to carry the puck to the side of the Flyers net and slide a shot past Steve Mason. Somehow Wisniewski put it inside the far post to give Columbus the lead.
The third period picked up right where the second left off with Columbus buzzing around the Flyers net. Wisniewski got the puck at the point and threw it towards the slot where it hit Brandon Dubinsky’s skate and beat Mason to give the Blue Jackets a 2-0 advantage.
It was a sluggish third period for Philadelphia until the 17-minute mark when they began to turn up the pressure. It was not enough as they were unable to solve Bobrovsky who registered his fourth shutout of the season and his first against his former team.
The Flyers look to rebound Saturday against the NHL-leading Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston at 1:00 pm. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth remains at six points.