In what was the first of five meetings between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, Columbus held on to win game one 4-3. Coming off of a rare five day layoff between games, the Flyers were visually rusty and didn’t play with the same intensity that they had shown in their previous three games.
Tonight’s game also marked the return of Scott Harnell to the Wells Fargo Center after being traded from the Flyers to the Blue Jackets in the offseason for R.J. Umberger and a 4th round pick. A shocking move that disappointed many fans as well as Hartnell himself.
Midway through the first period, Hartnell was honored with a video montage that played on the jumbotron and garnered a roaring standing ovation from appreciative Flyers fans. This was the highlight of a game that was otherwise disappointing overall.
The Blue Jackets entered tonight’s game in last place in the Metropolitan division and losing its last nine games. The Flyers, however, came into tonight winning its last three games but couldn’t match the speed and toughness of the desperate Blue Jackets.
Columbus’s four goals came in pairs by James Wisniewski and Nick Foligno.
On the bright side for Flyers fans, the five day layoff didn’t affect the hot streaks of Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux; both of whom tallied another goal and assist in the game.
Voracek now holds a tie with none other than Sidney Crosby for the league lead in total points with 24.
The Blue Jackets drafted Voracek with their 7th overall pick in the 2007 draft and traded him to the Flyers in the summer of 2011. He was asked if playing against his former team motivates him more than any other team:
“It’s a little different over there from when I got traded,” said Voracek. “When I got traded, the whole team was there, the management was there and now they’ve changed everything so I don’t feel like I’ve got to show them anything now on the ice.”
Flyers’ goalie Steve Mason had a rough night allowing 4 goals on 38 shots but didn’t get much help from his team to clear the puck. Numerous second chances for the Blue Jackets eventually led to goals. Mason had been red hot over his past four games with a 3-1 record and a .950 save percentage. He spoke with the media after the game about his team’s performance:
“It seemed like a sloppy game from the start,” Mason said. “Pucks were being deflected all over the place, pucks were bouncing, and just an unorganized game right from the start and it cost us.”
On top of the Flyers loss to a struggling Columbus team, it was tough seeing Scott Hartnell suit up in another team’s uniform after spending his last seven seasons sporting the orange and black. Hartnell was publicly upset and disappointed to find out that the Flyers had traded him this past summer. When asked why he thought he was traded after signing a long term extension to remain with the Flyers, this is what Hartnell had to say:
“It had a lot to do with [Ron] Hextall being named GM, and he wanted to put a fingerprint on how he wants to play,” Hartnell said. “He has a different vision for the club and their style of play going forward, but I’m not going to sit here and worry about it and lose sleep over it, that’s for sure.”
With tonight’s loss, the Flyers fall to 6th place in the Metropolitan division. Columbus remains in last place. The Flyers hope its rust has been shaken off after tonight’s game as they immediately head to Montreal to face the 1st place Canadiens tomorrow night.