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Blue Jackets-Flyers Preview
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The Columbus Blue Jackets added some blue-line depth at the NHL trade deadline by acquiring veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Dalton Prout.
Beginning Monday night in Philadelphia, they'll see just how valuable that trade was.
Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray suffered a broken right hand when he was struck by a Tyler Ennis slapshot in the first period of Columbus' 5-3 loss in Buffalo on Saturday and likely will be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.
Murray is expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery Monday morning, the team announced.
Murray has played in 60 of the Blue Jackets' 67 games this season and has two goals, nine assists and is a plus-3 while averaging 18:20 of ice time, including 1:52 on the penalty kill.
Quincey. 31, is expected to take Murray's spot on the Blue Jackets' third defense pairing and their second penalty-kill unit.
The Blue Jackets' loss to the Sabres was a tough one, considering they built an early 3-0 first-period lead. They also received a scare when leading scorer Cam Atkinson (30 goals, 57 points) needed 17 stitches to close a gash in his shoulder after taking a skate blade following a check from Sabres forward Marcus Foligno. Atkinson returned to finish the game.
"I definitely have a couple of guardian angels looking out for me," Atkinson told the Columbus Post-Dispatch. "I got a skate to the face a couple of years ago and it didn't touch my eye. This, it could have been my neck, it could have been other damage, nerve damage. I've got to just count my lucky stars."
The Blue Jackets allowed five unanswered goals in the loss, which snapped a three-game win streak. The Blue Jackets (43-18-6, 92 points) hold the third spot in the Metropolitan Division standings and would face the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoff if the postseason started today. Their next three games are against teams fighting for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East: the Flyers, Panthers and Islanders.
The Flyers (31-28-8, 70 points) are coming off Saturday's crushing 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, a game decided by Drew Stafford's goal off of Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning with 5.6 seconds remaining in regulation. The loss cost the Flyers a valuable point in the Eastern Conference standings, where they now sit six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, who hold the second wild-card berth.
The Flyers are also three points behind the 10th-place Tampa Bay Lightning and five behind the ninth-place New York Islanders.
"We can sit in the locker room and feel sorry for ourselves," Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "or we can get back to work."
After winning three out of four games, the Flyers have lost consecutive games to the Maple Leafs and Bruins and appear to be fading fast in their quest to return to the playoffs for a second straight season.
Voracek played his first three NHL seasons in Columbus before coming to Philadelphia in exchange for Jeff Carter in 2011. Monday night's game will also feature former Flyers winger Scott Hartnell, who was traded to the Blue Jackets in 2014 in exchange for R.J. Umberger. Hartnell, 34, has 13 goals and 21 assists for the Blue Jackets; Umberger, also 34, has not played in the NHL since recording two goals in 39 games with the Flyers last season.
Updated March 13, 2017