GAME 42: BLUE JACKETS AT PANTHERS
BB&T CENTER, 7 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM
SETTING THE STAGE: John Tortorella did not hold back when describing his team's play in the first period last night. He said the Blue Jackets were "red rotten" in a period that saw them surrender 19 shots on goal, one goal against, and spend limited time in the offensive zone at even strength.
Luckily, their pace and their play picked up in the second and third period and their goaltender helped them stay above water. They'll take the 3-1 win over a quality Tampa Bay Lightning team, but the resounding theme post-game was that they must be better in all three zones if they're going to leave this little post-streak speed bump in the past.
Surprise starter Joonas Korpisalo was solid in his season debut, finishing with 31 saves (18 in the first period) despite only finding out he was playing after the pre-game warmup.
Last night's victory put the Blue Jackets back in first place in the Metropolitan Division and the NHL. The Washington Capitals were temporarily in first after a win over Chicago, but Columbus answered back, as only you'd expect in this crazy Metro race, to improve to 29-8-4 with 62 points at the midway point of the season.
Tonight's game is the second of three meetings this season between the Panthers and Blue Jackets. Florida won the previous meeting in a shootout back on Nov. 26. The Panthers are coming off a loss on home ice to the New York Islanders last night.
NOTEWORTHY NEWS: Tortorella said he expects Korpisalo to get the net again tonight as Bobrovsky (illness) isn't quite ready to return. The Blue Jackets jumbled their lines in advance of last night's game, but during the game, went back to their mainstay lines and it seemed to get them going.
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP:
Saad - Wennberg - Foligno
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Calvert - Karlsson - Anderson
Hartnell - Sedlak - Gagner
Werenski - Jones
Johnson - Savard
Murray - Nutivaara