The Flyers have hit a crucial point in the season. There are just over 20 games remaining on the schedule, 23 to be exact. The trade deadline is in less than a week. Every game holds great importance, but one look at the standings shows just how important the next two games will be.

The Flyers currently hold the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference with 71 points. That is just one point behind the opponent for the next two games, the Columbus Blue Jackets, who technically hold the first wildcard spot with 72 points though they are tied for third in the division with the Islanders. It presents an opportunity for the Flyers to really solidify their place in the playoff race.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia FlyersGPGAPColumbus Blue JacketsGPGAP
Sean Couturier59173552Pierre-Luc Dubois60172744
Travis Konecny56192948Gustav Nyquist60122537
Claude Giroux59162844Zach Werenski53181735
Jake Voracek59113243Oliver Bjorkstrand47191433
James van Riemsdyk 59182038Seth Jones5662430
Player to Watch
28 Claude Giroux28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
Last 5 Games: 3 G, 6 A, 9 P, +1Last 5 Games: 2 G, 2 A, 4 P, E
Claude Giroux has started to see the points roll in of late. He had a three-point game in Washington on Feb. 8 to snap a four-game pointless streak and now has nine points on a current five-game points streak, including three multi-point games.
The Blue Jackets have dealt with a ton of injuries, meaning they need a number of players to step up. Oliver Bjorkstrand has done that lately, going on a four-game points streak.
Projected Goalie Matchup
79 Carter Hart90 Elvis Merzlikins
35 GP, 17-12-3, 2.59 GAA, .906 SV%28 GP, 12-8-6, 2.21 GAA, .928 SV%

After getting two wins in his first two games back from injury, Carter Hart had a rough outing against the Lightning, making 19 saves on 23 shots in a loss. This will be Hart's first appearance of the season against Columbus and given the magnitude of these two games, likely won't be his last.

Once he was pressed into action as Columbus' No. 1 goalie, Elvis Merzlikins went on quite a run, winning 12 of 14 starts and recording five shutouts. The last four games have been very different. Merzlikins has played well, allowed three goals or less in each game, but is on a four-game losing streak.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Nolan Patrick (migrane disorder, out indefinitely), Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma, out for season)

Scratches: Shayne Gostisbehere

Left WingCenterRight Wing
28 Claude Giroux14 Sean Couturier93 Jake Voracek
49 Joel Farabee13 Kevin Hayes11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk21 Scott Laughton18 Tyler Pitlick
12 Michael Raffl82 Connor Bunnaman62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Defense
9 Ivan Provorov15 Matt Niskanen
6 Travis Sanheim5 Phil Myers
8 Robert Hagg61 Justin Braun
Goalie
79 Carter Hart37 Brian Elliott

Lineup Notes

No changes are expected to the Flyers lineup for Tuesday's game.

Blue Jackets Projected Lineup

Injuries: Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Joonas Korpisalo, Ryan Murray, Alexander Wennberg, Alexandre Texier, Dean Kukan

Scratches: Gabriel Carlsson, Kole Sherwood

Left WingCenterRight Wing
14 Gustav Nyquist11 Kevin Stenlund28 Oliver Bjorkstrand
71 Nick Foligno38 Boone Jenner24 Nathan Gerbe
22 Sonny Milano18 Pierre-Luc Dubois52 Emil Bemstrom
15 Jakob Lilja20 Riley Nash50 Eric Robinson
Defense
8 Zach Werenski65 Markus Nutivaara
44 Vladislav Gavrikov58 David Savard
4 Scott Harrington2 Andrew Peeke
Goalie
90 Elvis Merzlikins80 Matiss Kivlenieks

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (16th), Blue Jackets (26th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (11th), Blue Jackets (7th)
  • Recent History vs. Blue Jackets
    • Oct. 26, 2019 - Flyers 7, Blue Jackets 4 (at PHI)
    • Nov. 27, 2019 - Flyers 3, Blue Jackets 2 (at CBJ)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Blue Jackets
    • Claude Giroux - 31 GP, 10 G, 20 A, 30 P
    • Travis Konecny - 13 GP, 4 G, 8 A, 12 P
    • James van Riemsdyk - 21 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 P
    • Jake Voracek - 27 GP, 7 G, 15 A, 22 P
    • Carter Hart - 1 GP, 0-1-0, 4.15 GAA, .789 SV%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Claude Giroux needs one power-play assist to pass Bobby Clarke for first on the Flyers all-time list.
    • Scott Laughton needs three points to reach 100 for his career.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic/97.3 ESPN

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.