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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Panthers

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets



WATCH: Mark Letestu scores the fourth goal of the night after a ridiculous dish from Corey Tropp!

GAME AUDIO: Mark Letestu makes it 4-1 in the third! | LISTEN

WATCH: Second period highlights.

The Blue Jackets followed up their best first period with one of their least inspiring second periods, but they maintain a two-goal lead thanks to a late goal from Nick Foligno with 2:14 left in the second. Florida dominated the second period, firing 15 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky and getting one past him (from Brad Boyes) that cut the lead to 2-1 at 7:41. Columbus spent several shifts in its own zone, and with the long change in the second period, struggled to even clear the zone on a couple of occasions. But they got their game back later in the period, with the Dubinsky line and the fourth line putting in some quality work in the Panthers' zone. Shots are 23-22 favoring the Jackets through 40 minutes.

Nick Foligno puts us up 3-1 with a second period goal!

GAME AUDIO: Nathan Horton 2nd intermission. | LISTEN

GAME AUDIO: Nick Foligno scores to make it 3-1 in the second! | LISTEN

WATCH: Nikitin, Tyutin, Anisimov, Bobrovsky, Richards, and Kekalainen are honored before puck drop in our Olympic send-off.

WATCH: 1st period highlights

1ST INTERMISSION: Ryan Johansen is our first intermission guest! | LISTEN

WATCH: Joey's 22nd of the season puts us up 2-0

WATCH: Boone Jenner scores to put us up 1-0 in the first!

That was one of the Jackets' better first periods in quite some time and the home crowd gave them a hearty ovation after the buzzer. Columbus leads 2-0 on goals from Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen, and it was a huge first period for that line with Nathan Horton. All three players had multi-point periods and they were a combined +6, but most impressive was their poise with the puck and execution off the rush. The Blue Jackets put 13 shots on Tim Thomas - who made some strong saves, too - but made a point of driving the net, something you want to make a habit of against the league's top goalies. Strong start for the home side. 

Ryan Johansen's 22nd of the year gives us a 2-0 lead in the first! | LISTEN

GAME AUDIO: Boone Jenner scores to make it 1-0, good guys | LISTEN

WATCH: After you watch today's Rink Report, you won't be able to say that you weren't prepared for battle!

WATCH: The Inside Edge with Bob McElligott and Jody Shelley

WATCH: We have a treat for you this AM. You asked, er Tweeted, and he answered. Here's #AskAJacket with Nathan Horton

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards holds his pre-game meeting with the media.

Derek MacKenzie, who's scored four goals in his last five games, previews the match-up against Florida.

WATCH: James Wisniewski talks about tonight's game against the Panthers on Jackets TV.

UPDATE (11:20 AM):
Here's the Blue Jackets lineup for tonight's game against Florida...

Foligno - Anisimov - Umberger
Jenner - Johansen - Horton
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
MacKenzie - Letestu - Tropp

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Savard


UPDATE (11:11 AM):
Marian Gaborik will go on the road trip to California, but won't play, per Todd Richards.

UPDATE (11:03 AM):'s Rob Mixer reports from this morning's skate that D Cody Goloubef is still on the ice post-practice, suggesting that D David Savard will return to the lineup tonight.

UPDATE (9:55 AM): We're about to get underway with the Jackets' morning skate. Welcome to the CBJ season ticket holders in attendance at Nationwide this morning, glad you could join us! 

 The Blue Jackets embark on their final home game before the Olympic break, and it's a 7 p.m. start against the Florida Panthers at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets are slated for a 10 a.m. morning skate at Nationwide, and we'll have game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Panthers, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

The Blue Jackets are likely to get David Savard back in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Panthers. Savard missed the last four games due to illness but practiced Thursday prior to the game with Washington. 

Look for Sergei Bobrovsky to get back between the pipes tonight against the Panthers. He's 10-2-0 in his last 12 starts.

In a bit of a scheduling quirk with the Blue Jackets' move to the Eastern Conference, this is surprisingly the first meeting of the season between them and the Florida Panthers. Their last get together? A game at Nationwide Arena in March 2012, a 4-1 victory for the Blue Jackets, thanks to a pair of goals from Nikita Nikitin.

The Panthers got out to a rocky start this season and made an early coaching change, replacing former Blue Jackets forward Kevin Dineen behind the bench with interim head coach Peter Horachek, who's done a fine job guiding the Panthers back from a dismal first couple of months. They're an emerging young club that has gone through ups and downs, but has received quality goaltending from veteran Tim Thomas and also benefitted from the on-the-job maturation of young players like Nick Bjugstad, Drew Shore and Aleksander Barkov. 

On the back end, veterans Brian Campbell and captain Ed Jovanovski (who recently returned from injury) have been a stabilizing presence for Florida, which also has some promising prospects on the blue line. Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov are part of the future on defense for the Panthers, and Kulikov in particular has been hot of late, scoring goals in consecutive games and tallying four in his last seven overall.

Tonight's game is the conclusion of a four-game road trip for the Panthers, who opened the trip with a shootout win in Detroit but have dropped back-to-back games since. Florida has allowed 16 goals in its first three games of the road trip and its team goals-against average (3.06) is 27th in the NHL.


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