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Flyers-Jackets preview: Scott Laughton’s return could lift Philly

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Scott Laughton, who missed 12 games because of a concussion, will return to the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup Tuesday.

Center Scott Laughton and defenseman Keith Yandle will return to the lineup, and Joel Farabee will go back to his natural position, left wing, when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Columbus Blue Jackets and old pal Jake Voracek on Tuesday night.

Laughton missed 12 games with a concussion, while Yandle was a healthy scratch for the last two games and had his NHL record streak stopped. He had played in 989 straight games.

Interim coach Mike Yeo said Laughton was “pretty jacked up to return” and had problems sleeping last night. Laughton tried to persuade management to allow him to play over the weekend against Toronto and the Rangers, but it took a cautious approach.

“You want to be playing, you want to be part of what’s going to happen in the future,” said Laughton, who has 11 goals and 28 points in 54 games.

Laughton, who turns 28 next month, said he wanted to be an “influence” on the many young and inexperienced players in the Flyers’ lineup.

Farabee spent six games at center, but will go to left wing on a new line that includes center Morgan Frost and right winger Cam Atkinson. Yeo said he liked Farabee’s play at center and that he could return to that position down the road.

Lately, the Blue Jackets (32-32-6) have scuffled more than the Flyers (22-36-11). Columbus, which has one of the NHL’s youngest teams, is winless in its last seven games (0-4-3).

Philly is coming off Sunday’s stunning 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, while Columbus dropped a 3-2 overtime decision Monday in Boston.

The Blue Jackets defeated the Flyers, 2-1, in the teams’ only matchup this season. The teams will also meet Thursday in Ohio.

Storylines

Can the Flyers win two straight for the first time since March 5 and 8 (Chicago and Vegas)?

Columbus is trying to end a seven-game winless streak that includes four defeats by one goal.

Another storyline: The game matches two players traded for each other in the off-season: Voracek and Cam Atkinson.

Atkinson leads the Flyers in goals (23) and points (50). Voracek, who has 11 multi-assist games this season, leads the Jackets in assists (46) and is second in points (51).

Flyers’ projected lineup

Line 1:  Frost centering Farabee and Atkinson.

Line 2: Kevin Hayes centering James van Riemsdyk and Owen Tippett.

Line 3: Laughton centering Noah Cates and Travis Konecny.

Line 4: Nate Thompson centering Oskar Lindblom and Patrick Brown.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Cam York; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen, Yandle and Ronnie Attard.

Goalie:  Carter Hart.

Numbers Dept.

The Philadelphia Flyers and Blue Jackets are among the league’s worst defensive teams. The Blue Jackets are allowing 3.73 goals per game (30th), and the Flyers are surrendering 3.51 (27th).

Both have poor special teams.

Who’s hot?

Patrik Laine, the Blue Jackets’ big winger, has 10 points (3-7) in his last 11 games.

Hayes has 15 points (5-10) in his last 15 games for the Flyers. The veteran center has taken on more of a leadership role since captain Claude Giroux was traded last month.

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Hart (3.11 GAA, .907 save percentage) will face Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins (3.40, .903), who also started Monday in Boston.

Hart has been shelled for 16 goals over his last three games, all losses.

How to watch

NBC Sports Philadelphia+, 7 p.m.

How to bet

Money line (FanDuel)

Blue Jackets: plus-114.

Flyers: minus-137.

Prediction

Flyers 4, Blue Jackets 3.

Prediction record: 26-9.

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