R.J. Umberger scored two goals in the Blue Jackets' 6-3 win over the Flyers on Saturday. (USA Today Images)
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Vinny Lecavalier’s return to the lineup wasn’t enough to prevent the Blue Jackets from splitting a home-and-home with the Flyers on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.
The Jackets scored twice in 2:03 to begin the third period on goalie Ray Emery, breaking a 2-2 tie en route to a 6-3 rout.
Too many odd-man rushes and not enough defensive help in front of the net plagued the Flyers, as did a lack of blocked shots with Nick Grossmann (flu) not playing.
Worth noting: Emery has given up 11 goals in his last two starts. Ouch.
For the Flyers, it looked very bleak that they would even make a game of it. They were inches away from trailing 3-0 in the second period when Brandon Dubinsky’s shorthanded attempt clanged off the crossbar. The puck came back up the ice and Wayne Simmonds buried one from the high slot, making it a 2-1 contest as the power play expired.
Twenty seconds later, off the rush again, Lecavalier threw a bouncing puck across the slot to Sean Couturier, who somehow got it past goalie Curtis McElhinney to tie the game at two.
So for most of 38 minutes, Columbus had all the momentum until the Flyers stole it in less than a minute, but that all changed in the third period.
Steve Downie missed the game with an upper-body injury (see story). Nick Grossmann also missed the game with the flu, while Erik Gustafsson had a leg-on-leg collision with Corey Tropp in the third period and limped off the ice.
Referee Dan O’Rourke left the game midway through the first period after taking an accidental skate to the chest from Tropp. O’Rourke was reportedly coughing up blood in the dressing room and did not return.
Entering the game, how much he would play was uncertain. He finished with 16:36 ice time and played on the second power-play unit with Brayden Schenn and Matt Read.
David Savard’s shot early in the third period just got under the crossbar with Emery screened to give the Jackets a 3-2 lead.
Coach Craig Berube pulled Emery with 3:29 left in the third period for an extra attacker. Columbus was leading 5-2 at that point.
Whenever the Blue Jackets score a goal, there is a detonated canon ball explosion and fireball coming out of the rafters that shakes the entire building.
Fans were chanting, “We want [Steve] Mason,” for much of the game. It was his first trip back to Columbus since being traded to the Flyers last April.
Immediate lift, then it's gone
Marian Gaborik came off the injury list to assist on the Blue Jackets’ first-period goal -- scored by Ryan Johansen -- when Braydon Coburn was caught up ice, creating a 2-on-1 Columbus rush. Emery made the first stop on Gaborik, but Nick Foligno scooped the rebound behind the net and found Ryan Johansen open in front for an easy 1-0 lead.
Gaborik left the game after the goal, as he was sandwiched by Zac Rinaldo and Coburn on the play (see video). He was diagnosed with a broken left collarbone. Rinaldo got him with an elbow to the shoulder. Terrible loss, and remember Gaborik had missed 17 games with a sprained knee before being activated for Saturday’s game.
No penalty was called on the play, but the Department of Player Safety will review it. And the fact that it involves Rinaldo doesn’t bode well for the Flyers.
The Flyers were 0 for 5 on the power play, though they had a couple of chances in the second period on McElhinney that were turned away.
The Flyers came into the game with the fourth-best road power play -- 15 goals on 61 opportunities for 24.6 percent. But didn’t score on the man advantage Saturday. It was their fifth straight road loss, and they play six of their next seven games on the road.
R.J. Umberger had a power-play deflection in the second period that made it 2-0, Blue Jackets. He also scored an empty-netter to secure the 6-3 victory.
Brayden Schenn and Nick Foligno fought to a second-period draw.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros and forward Jay Rosehill were healthy scratches.
Up nextThe Flyers return home Monday night to host the Minnesota Wild. Their next six games after that come on the road.