Flyers-Blue Jackets Preview: Clean Slate
The 2023-24 season is about to get underway for the Philadelphia Flyers. There’s a renewed energy around the Flyers following an offseason filled with organizational change, the proclamation of a “New Era of Orange,” and a commitment to a long-overdue rebuild.
The Flyers first opponent on the season is the Columbus Blue Jackets, who similarly picked near the top of the draft and came away with a potential future star in Adam Fantilli, who makes his NHL debut in Thursday’s game.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Team Leaders (Stats from 2022-23 Season)
|Philadelphia Flyers||GP||G||A||P||Columbus Blue Jackets||GP||G||A||P|
|Travis Konecny||60||31||30||61||Johnny Gaudreau||80||21||53||74|
|Owen Tippett||77||27||22||49||Patrik Laine||55||22||30||52|
|Morgan Frost||81||19||27||46||Boone Jenner||68||26||19||45|
|Scott Laughton||78||18||25||43||Jack Roslovic||77||11||33||44|
|Joel Farabee||82||15||24||39||Kent Johnson||79||16||24||40|
Bobby Brink returns to the Flyers lineup after making the team out of camp. Brink did not play in the NHL last season after spending half of the year recovering from offseason hip surgery. Brink impressed in the preseason with a goal and two assists in four games.
Adam Fantilli makes his NHL debut on Thursday night. Fantilli was the third overall pick by the Blue Jackets and registered a pair of goals and assists for four points in the preseason.
Carter Hart is expected to get the start in goal for the Flyers. Hart finished the 2022-23 season with a 22-23-10 record and a 2.94 GAA. He also had a 1-0-1 record in the preseason with a 2.46 GAA.
Elvis Merzlikins is expected to start for the Blue Jackets. Merzlikins was hindered by injury in the 2022-23 season, playing just 30 games. He finished the season with seven wins and a 4.23 GAA.
Flyers Scratches: Rasmus Ristolainen (injury), Tyson Foerster (healthy), Emil Andrae (healthy), Felix Sandstrom (healthy)
Blue Jackets Scratches: Kent Johnson (healthy), Liam Foudy (healthy), Adam Boqvist (healthy)
- Flyers: There was a chance that Rasmus Ristolainen would be ready to come off IR in time for the season opener, but he will not play on Thursday. Tyson Foerster and Emil Andrae are also out of the lineup for the opener.
- Blue Jackets: Several young players are out of the lineup for the Blue Jackets. Kent Johnson, Liam Foudy, and Adam Boqvist are all sitting out the opener. While Fantilli highlights the newcomers to the Columbus lineup, it is also the Columbus debut of acquisitions Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson, as well as the return of Zach Werenski after a season-ending injury last season.
- Power Play: Flyers (32nd), Blue Jackets (26th)
- Penalty Kill: Flyers (26th), Blue Jackets (25th)
- Recent History vs. Blue Jackets
- April 11, 2023: Flyers 4, Blue Jackets 3 (F/OT) (at PHI)
- Dec. 20, 2022: Flyers 5, Blue Jackets 3 (at PHI)
- Nov. 15, 2022: Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 4 (F/OT) (at CBJ)
- Nov. 10, 2022: Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 2 (at CBJ)
- Flyers Leaders vs. Blue Jackets
- Travis Konecny: 22 GP, 10 G, 15 A, 25 P
- Sean Couturier: 30 GP, 9 G, 10 A, 19 P
- Owen Tippett: 15 GP, 8 G, 2 A, 10 P
- Carter Hart: 8 GP, 3-4-1, 3.00 GAA, .896 SV%
- Milestone Watch
- Scott Laughton needs one point to reach 200 for his career.
- Nick Deslauriers needs three assists to reach 100 for his career.
Where to Watch
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: Flyers Broadcast Network
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.
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