Sports

Flyers aim for rare win in Columbus

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers hope to extend a seven-game point streak with their first victory in Columbus in over nine years on Friday night as they battle the Blue Jackets.

Looking to get back into the playoff picture, the Flyers are 5-0-2 over their past seven games, having not lost in regulation since Jan. 19 versus the New York Islanders. Philadelphia is coming off a loss however, falling 2-1 in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Matt Read scored an early goal for the Flyers, his first since Dec. 11 to snap a 25-game goal drought, but the Canadiens tied it up in the third period and then won it with 1:33 to play in overtime.

Ray Emery came up with a season-high 39 saves.

"They jumped on all the loose pucks. We were never close on a lot of those battles," said Flyers defenseman Mark Streit. "We let them come to us too much in the second half of the game. Emery was outstanding and he showed a lot of battle in this game. Our forwards didn't attack enough. We got a point, and maybe it could be a crucial one."

The point has the Flyers eight points back of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets are six points back of Philadelphia in the standings.

Columbus will try to close that gap tonight and it has won five of its past six games versus the Flyers overall and five straight as the host. Philadelphia has not won in Ohio since Dec. 13, 2005 and is just 2-4-1 with a pair of ties all-time on the road in this series.

With current Flyers No. 1 and former Blue Jacket netminder Steve Mason out 2- to-3 weeks with a lower-body injury, Emery figures to start tonight and is 3-2-1 with a 3.32 goals against average and .883 save percentage in seven career meetings, all but one of those starts.

Philadelphia defenseman Luke Schenn is day-to-day with an upper-body injury that caused him to miss the game versus the Canadiens.

The Blue Jackets also are without their starting netminder in Sergei Bobrovsky, himself a former Flyer, and Curtis McElhinney did what he could in Monday's 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. He made 40 saves on 44 shots faced, but Columbus had a two-game winning streak halted with a fourth loss in six games.

Playing in his 1,000th career game, Scott Hartnell, another former Flyer, scored in a third straight game for the Blue Jackets, while Jack Skille and David Savard also had a goal.

"They made it hard all over the ice tonight," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "We weren't able to get many plays because they were pressing us all night."

Dalton Prout missed the game with an upper-body injury and is out for this game, but defenseman James Wisniewski is close to returning from a lower-body ailment suffered last Friday versus St. Louis. A return tonight for the blueliner is possible.

Columbus begins a five-game road trip on Saturday that includes a stop in Philadelphia on Tuesday and McElhinney will start tonight. He is 3-1-0 lifetime versus the Flyers with a 3.27 GAA and .910 save percentage in four games.