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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Panthers

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets



GAME AUDIO: Matt Calvert adds the cherry on top with another third period empty net goal! | LISTEN

GAME AUDIO: Nick Foligno secures the W with a third period empty net goal! | LISTEN

WATCH: Here's that beautiful shorthanded goal from Anisimov...

What a wild game this afternoon at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets and Panthers combined for four goals in the second period after three in the first, and things remain the same after 40 minutes with the home team holding a one-goal lead. Artem Anisimov's dazzling shorthanded goal in the dying seconds of the period - literally out-working three Panthers in the corner - restored the lead for Columbus after a lackluster middle frame. The Panthers have benefitted from Jackets turnovers and turned them into goals, and Bobrovsky hasn't had much help in front of him, either. The Blue Jackets have to stay out of the box in the third period and continue to pressure the Panthers, because they've gotten their opportunities so far in this game.

David Savard 2nd period PP goal

GAME AUDIO:David Savard 2nd period PP goal. | LISTEN

WATCH: First period highlights


The Blue Jackets wanted an energetic start and to get their forecheck going, and they did that in the first period against Florida. Special teams have been good so far, as the Jackets are 2-for-2 on the power play and have sent a lot of pucks toward Scott Clemmensen with traffic. All four lines are involved and they've kept the puck headed north with speed, which is something they wanted to do against a Florida team that likes to get up ice quickly. Not much work for Sergei Bobrovsky in the opening period but he did yield a goal to Shawn Matthias, who made a nifty move to this forehand before going top shelf late in the first period.

Cam Atkinson's 1st period PP goal

WATCH: R.J. Umberger's 1st period PP goal

GAME AUDIO: David Savard puts up the second PP goal in the first to make it 2-0! | LISTEN

GAME AUDIO: That's more like it! R.J. Umberger nets a PP goal to put us up 1-0 in the first! | LISTEN

#CBJ SOCIAL CONTEST: We'll keep this short and sweet today...answer the trivia question below, tweet us @BlueJacketsNHL using #CBJSocial in your reply & one person will be randomly selected to win!

Q: Which CBJ player scored the team's third goal in their most recent victory over the Florida Panthers? 

 It's the second game of the post-Olympics push, and the Blue Jackets host the Florida Panthers in a Saturday matinee at Nationwide Arena. It's the second meeting in Columbus in two games for these two teams, and due to the afternoon start, there will be no morning skate - but 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 went through an intense, 45-minute practice on Friday afternoon at Nationwide Arena in an attempt to get back on track after a disappointing loss to New Jersey. According to coach Todd Richards, there will be no lineup changes on Saturday against Florida but the lines and pairings may be shuffled.

Look for Sergei Bobrovsky to start in goal, while the Panthers are expected to counter with veteran Tim Thomas.

To a man, the Blue Jackets were extremely displeased with their performance on Thursday night against the Devils. New Jersey, also playing its first game after the Olympic break, was faster, more polished and won the battles in key situations. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets were left to pick up the pieces on Friday and try to re-focus for Saturday against Florida.

The Panthers were a tough test back on Feb. 1 at Nationwide Arena, a game that Mark Letestu admitted was largely controlled by Florida. They're a strong forechecking team that plays with "tight gaps" between its forwards and defense, according to Richards, and they're not afraid to make plays or jump up in the rush.

And that's part of the worry going in against a team like the Panthers: they are by no means eliminated from postseason contention but they've been playing well, playing loose and are feeling confident in their game. The Panthers took Washington down to the final minutes a couple of nights ago and have shown the ability to score more goals of late, and sometimes their underrated blue line (led by Ed Jovanovski and Brian Campbell) doesn't get enough credit.



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