Flyers vs. Blue Jackets
Columbus, OH - The Columbus Blue Jackets play six of their next eight games at Nationwide Arena, but they're not enjoying much of a home-ice advantage to start the season.
Perhaps a road victory against the Stanley Cup champions will provide some momentum.
The Blue Jackets haven't given their sparse home crowds much to cheer about early on, but they'll be looking for a fourth victory in five games overall Monday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flyers –125 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Blue Jackets. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 61% of more than 687 bets for this game have been placed on the Flyers -125.
Since returning from its season-opening set in Sweden, Columbus (4-3-0) has won both of its road games, but is 1-2-0 at home.
The Blue Jackets followed their first loss at Nationwide - 5-2 to the Blackhawks on Oct. 15 - by beating Minnesota on the road a night later, and were faced with a similar scenario Saturday night in Chicago.
After losing 6-2 at home to Calgary on Friday, Columbus once again responded. The Blue Jackets rallied from a 2-0 deficit late in the second period by scoring right before and right after intermission, then snapped the tie with Antoine Vermette's first goal to win 3-2.
"You've heard that goals late at the end of periods are killers, and for us it really helped," first-year coach Scott Arniel said. "I'm really happy with the way we bounced back. It showed we could play hard as a group."
Columbus played in front of a packed house in Chicago, but that almost certainly won't be the case Monday. The Jackets drew a franchise-worst crowd of 9,802 on Wednesday against Anaheim, then had 10,784 in attendance for Friday's ugly loss to the Flames.
According to their captain, though, a small crowd shouldn't affect the team's performance.
"It shouldn't happen," Rick Nash said of Columbus' home struggles. "We are at home in front of our home fans."
While the Blue Jackets were thrilled to get Vermette's first goal Saturday - his 27 last season were second on the team to Nash's 33 - Philadelphia (3-3-1) was just as happy to see Mike Richards get on the board that same night against Toronto.
The Flyers' captain opened the scoring with his first goal since Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals and added two assists in a 5-2 victory.
"I don't think anyone was too worried about (Richards) getting his points," said winger Danny Briere, who scored his team-high fifth goal. "We all knew it was just a matter of time for Mike Richards to turn it on."
That concluded a five-game homestand that started and ended with wins, but featured three losses in between. Philadelphia has yet to win back-to-back games.
"You want to find consistency in your game on a daily basis regardless of the schedule," coach Peter Laviolette told the Flyers' official website. "Whether you get time off, whether you get four games in six nights, whether you have back-to-backs, it doesn't matter. You have to go out and play a brand of hockey. I think that's the target."
The Blue Jackets are 1-5-0 with three ties all-time against the Flyers, including a 5-3 loss Jan. 19 at Philadelphia. Former Flyers center R.J. Umberger, who leads Columbus with four goals, scored twice in defeat.Jeff Carter had two goals and an assist for Philadelphia.