Blue Jackets (30-25-5) at Flyers (31-19-10)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday.
WHERE: Wells Fargo Center.
BROADCAST & STREAMING: NBCSP, NBCSports.com/live, 93.3 FM
KEY PLAYERS: Goalie Petr Mrazek, acquired Monday from Detroit for two conditional draft picks, is expected to make his Flyers debut.
The 26-year-old Mrazek said he was excited to be thrust into a playoff race, and he figures to get a majority of the remaining regular-season starts. While with Detroit, Mzarek was 1-3-1 in his career vs. Columbus with a 2.79 GAA and and .913 save percentage.
The Flyers are in third place in the Metropolitan Division and have inched to within three points of first-place Washington and are two points behind second-place Pittsburgh.
Columbus, coming off Tuesday’s 2-1 win in New Jersey, holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot and is one point ahead of Carolina. The Blue Jackets are seven points behind the Flyers with 22 games left.
Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to get the call for Columbus. He is 3-1-1 with a 1.99 GAA and .931 save percentage in his last five games.
Artemi Panarin has 16 goals and leads the the Jackets in assists (32) and points (48).
Flyers captain Claude Giroux has become an MVP candidate. He is tied for second in the NHL with 70 points, eight behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. Jake Voracek is tied for seventh in the league with 68 points and tops the NHL with 55 assists. Voracek scored late in regulation and early in OT as the Flyers edged Montreal, 3-2, on Tuesday.
Travis Konecny, who has 11 goals and 24 in 25 games since being promoted to the top line, injured his left foot in Tuesday’s win but is listed as “probable,” according to GM Ron Hextall.
On Tuesday, the Flyers became the second team in NHL history not to allow a power-play opportunity in three straight games.
THINGS TO KNOW: Bobrovsky is 9-2-1 with a 1.81 GAA and .938 save percentage in 12 career games against the Flyers…..The Flyers are 15-9-6 at home, while the Jackets are 13-14-3 on the road….Sean Couturier is tied for seventh in the NHL with a career-high 29 goals…The Flyers average 3.00 goals per game and allow 2.82; Columbus is averaging 2.55 goals per game and yielding 2.77…..Panarin has three goals in six career games against the Flyers…Voracek has 15 points in 19 games against his former team.
HEAD TO HEAD: The Flyers lead the overall series, 11-10-3-6. The Jackets are 14-3-1 against the Flyers in the last 18 meetings. The teams split a pair of games in Columbus this season. The Jackets scored 2-1 shootout victory Dec. 23, and the Flyers won a 2-1 overtime thriller on Feb. 16. In addition to Thursday, the teams will meet March 15 at the Wells Fargo Center.
COMING FLYERS GAMES:
Saturday: 2 p.m. at Ottawa.
Monday: 7;30 p.m. at Montreal.
Thursday: 7 p.m. vs. Carolina.