Scoring goals hasn't been too difficult a task of late for Cam Atkinson, who has pumped in 13 to go along with six assists during his career-best 11-game point streak. Although Atkinson set a franchise record with his sixth career hat trick in his last outing, the Blue Jackets were left shaking their head after being gouged for nine goals heading into Thursday's road tilt versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
"It's embarrassing for the group. We need to be way better than that, especially in front of our home fans," said Atkinson, who saw his team answer a sizzling 8-2-1 stretch by falling for the second straight time following Tuesday's 9-6 setback to Calgary. The 29-year-old boosted his goal total to 11 in 23 career encounters versus Philadelphia after he tallied twice in the second period of Columbus' 6-3 win on Oct. 18. The Blue Jackets are a sterling 16-4-1 in their last 21 meetings with the Flyers, who spent Wednesday formally introducing Chuck Fletcher as the eighth different general manager in franchise history. "You want to get his trust as fast as you can," said captain Claude Giroux, who leads Philadelphia in assists (21) and points (30) and has recorded 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 26 contests versus Columbus.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Ohio (Columbus), NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (15-10-2): Defenseman Seth Jones mirrored Atkinson's take on Tuesday's offensive slugfest with the Flames despite extending his assist and point streaks to four and five (one goal, four assists), respectively. "Anytime there's nine goals scored, it's not always the goalie's fault. You can't always blame the goalie," the 24-year-old said. "You can't blame the forwards for not reloading. It's our job as defensemen at the end of the day to keep the puck out of the net." Sergei Bobrovsky was gashed for eight of the nine goals in that contest, but the two-time Vezina Trophy winner improved to 11-3-1 against his former team after turning aside 32 shots in the first encounter with the Flyers.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (11-12-2): Philadelphia's generous defense has come under the microscope this season, so much so that struggling blue-liner Shayne Gostisbehere appeared to tread lightly with the team undergoing a major overhaul at the top. "Anything in life, you only get one first impression, so you obviously want to be on your game. Hopefully, we can string some wins," said the 25-year-old Gostisbehere, who owns a minus-15 rating. Jakub Voracek collected a goal and an assist in Saturday's 4-2 win over Pittsburgh and has 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 22 career meetings with the team (Columbus) that selected him with the seventh overall pick of the 2007 NHL Draft.
1. Philadelphia C Sean Couturier, who has a team-leading 10 goals, has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 23 career matches with Columbus.
2. Blue Jackets LW Artemi Panarin had two of his club-best 22 assists in the first meeting with the Flyers.
3. Philadelphia has dropped eight of 13 (5-7-1) games at Wells Fargo Center this season.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 3, Flyers 1 Bet Now
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