Flyers-Blue Jackets preview: What about Bob (Sergei Bobrovsky)?

Devils Blue Jackets Hockey
Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in action against the Devils last week.

Flyers (28-19-10) at Columbus (29-24-4)

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Nationwide Arena

BROADCAST & STREAMING: TV– NBCSP; radio–97.5 FM.

SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Twitter, @BroadStBull and @samdonnellon

KEY PLAYERS: Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth will start. He is 2-1-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .934 save percentage against Columbus. However, Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, whom the Flyers traded in 2012 for draft picks that became Anthony Stolarz and Taylor Leier, is 9-2-0 with a 1.79 GAA and .939 save percentage against the team that drafted him. He is 6-0-0 with a 1.29 GAA and .954 save percentage in six games at home. After scoring twice and assisting on another in Columbus’s 6-3 loss to Toronto, Nick Foligno has 12 points (6-6) over his last 15 games. Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones has 36 points this season, 28 coming off assists. Forward Oliver Bjorkstrand has two goals and four assists over his last six games. Artemi Panarin leads Columbus in scoring (15-31-46).  For the Flyers, Travis Konecny’s first game on the first line was against Columbus back on Dec. 23. He has 10 goals and 10 assists in 22 games since.

THINGS TO KNOW: Columbus is 3-6-1 over its last 10 games. The Flyers are 5-3-2 over the same span. The Blue Jackets power play, 31st in the league at 14.7 percent for the season, has been a little more lively lately. The unit is 10 for its last 40, a respectable 25 percent. The Blue Jackets also have averaged more than 50 shots in their last three games, two of them one-sided victories over the Devils and Islanders. After being in the top group of teams for much of the first half, Columbus has slipped to ninth place in the Eastern Conference, tied for sixth in the Metropolitan Division, four points behind the  Flyers, who are tied with the Devils for third.

HEAD TO HEAD:  The Flyers are 10-16-3 all-time against the Blue Jackets, whom they have never met in a playoff. Of the Flyers’ last seven losses in Columbus, six have gone to overtime. This is the second of four matchups between the teams. The Blue Jackets took a 2-1 shootout victory over the Flyers on Dec. 23. The Flyers will host Columbus next Thursday and again on March 15.

COMING GAMES:

Sunday at New York Rangers, noon

Tuesday vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.