Flyers’ point streak snapped with injury-riddled loss in Columbus

Image courtesy of Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets produced a memorable third period of their own tonight, as they potted four goals in the final 20 minutes at home to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3. Ryan Johansen and R.J. Umberger each had two-goal games as Nikita Nikitin and Corey Tropp each had two assists, while Curtis McElhinney earned the victory with 33 saves.

Wayne Simmonds, who had a two-goal game, and Sean Couturier scored 20 seconds apart late in the second period to make it a 2-2 game heading into the third period, but the Flyers fell apart this time around in the final stanza. To make matters worse, it looked as though Erik Gustafsson may have suffered a serious knee injury. The injury to the blue liner comes on a night where Nicklas Grossmann was out with the flu and the squad learned Steve Downie will miss the next seven to 10 days with an upper-body injury.

The injury to Grossmann had a huge impact in the loss, as three of the Blue Jackets six goals were the result of shots from the point finding their ways through traffic in front. Columbus may have still scored goals similar to this with Grossmann in the lineup, but it was evident that the approach of hoping shots from the point made it through traffic was the Blue Jackets’ game plan.

Following their collapse on Thursday, the Blue Jackets opened the contest with an edge, as they dictated play early and grabbed the early 1-0 lead.

After Braydon Coburn pinched and saw the puck bounce past him, Columbus had an odd-man rush the other way. Marian Gaborik managed to produce a shot from the bottom of the slot, but he hit the side of the net. Fortunately for the Jackets, Johansen jumped on the disc and circled from behind the net to the middle of the slot and roofed one past a sprawled out Ray Emery. Johansen’s 13th of the year came with 9:17 remaining in the opening frame.

The Orange and Black left the first period trailing by just one and entered the middle frame with 1:17 left on a power play due to a holding minor on Boone Jenner. Philly couldn’t convert on their power-play chance or any of their other three power-play opportunities in the second period, as they saw Columbus extend their lead to two on a man advantage of their own.

It took eight seconds for Columbus to score with Mark Streit in the sin bin for hooking, as Umberger deflected a James Wisniewski blast from the point for his first of the game.

In the most impactful play of the game, a Brandon Dubinsky shot hit the crossbar and post, and looked to be the Blue Jackets’ third goal of the evening, but after a review it was clear the disc never crossed the goal line.

As a result from the shot attempt, it seemed as though the Jackets thought the play was over while the Flyers produced an odd-man rush the other. After Claude Giroux handed Simmonds the puck in the offensive zone, the captain went to the net and created a screen with Scott Hartnell. Simmonds used the screen to his advantage and potted his seventh of the year to make it a one-goal game with 2:20 left in the second period.

Just 20 seconds after the fortunate strike for the Orange and Black, a Vincent Lecavalier cross-ice feed set up Couturier for the game-tying goal, as Couturier’s seventh of 2013-2014 set up the third period as a tied game.

The Blue Jackets received goals from David Savard, Jenner, Johansen, and Umberger in the third period, as Simmonds scored his second of the evening to finalize the score.

After producing five sloppy periods in two games against the Blue Jackets, the Flyers will need to play a more defensive game on Monday, as they host the Minnesota Wild.

Notes: The Flyers had their four-game point streak snapped tonight. They were 3-0-1 during the streak…Jakub Voracek now has a seven-game point streak with an assist tonight. He has six goals and five assists during the streak…With an assist on Simmonds’ first goal, Giroux extended his point streak to six games. He has four goals and seven assists during the point streak…Streit now has a four-game point streak, as he had a helper on Simmonds’ second goal of the night. He has two goals and three assists during the streak…Tonight was Simmonds’ first multi-goal game since his hat trick against the Carolina Hurricanes on April 20th last season…Emery has now lost his last four decisions…Philly has now lost five straight road games. They are 0-3-2 in their last five tilts away from the Wells Fargo Center…Lecavalier had an assist and was minus-1 with three shots on net in 16:36 TOI in his first game back from his injury…Filling in for Grossmann, Hal Gill was minus-1 with one hit in 14:31 TOI…In his first game back from injury, Gaborik broke his collarbone in the opening frame…The Orange and Black’s power play was 0-for-5 tonight. The last time they failed to convert at least once with five opportunities was in their 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars earlier this year. They went 0-for-5 there as well…Philly dropped to 1-1-0 against the Blue Jackets this year. They are now 13-10-3 against the Eastern Conference and 7-5-2 against the Metropolitan Division…The Flyers dropped to 16-16-4. They were 16-17-3 after 36 games last year.