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The 5th Line Report: Busy Week On Tap

by Martin Poston / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets return to action tonight, working to bounce back from a rather rough ending to a five-game home stand, a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres.

This will be a tough task as they hit the road and begin a four-game slate this week, which begins in Boston's TD Garden. The week will also see the Jackets begin their season series against the Detroit Red Wings on the road, try to keep up the wins against New Jersey, and try to grab a win against Florida.

The week begins tonight as the Blue Jackets look to finally solve the Boston Bruins in the last of their three-game series. The Jackets have lost two closely-contested games, with each requiring extra time. The Jackets lost Jan. 23 in a shootout, and dropped last week's decision in overtime.

The Bruins have split their last two since their last match up with the Jackets, and are 2-2 in their last four. They're coming off a 7-3 throttling of Dallas on Saturday, a game in which they were down 3-1 before exploding in the last 40 minutes.

It's a quick turnaround for the Blue Jackets as they hop over to Detroit less than 24 hours later to take on the Red Wings for the first time this season in historic Joe Louis Arena. The Jackets will host the other two games in the series, so mark your calendars for Mar. 8 and Mar. 17. Columbus is 8-2-1 against Detroit over the previous three seasons.

The Devils visit Nationwide Arena for the first time this season on Thursday, and will be looking for their first win against Columbus. The Blue Jackets took the first two games early in the season. New Jersey is currently battling for a Wild Card spot, currently sitting three points behind Pittsburgh.

Finally, the Jackets will try to crack the Florida Panthers on Saturday after dropping a pair of one-goal games in December. The Panthers visit Columbus after wrapping up a five-game home stand in which they are 2-1-1 so far.

Jaromir Jagr continues to defy age in the NHL, having just scored his team-leading 20th goal over the weekend, passing Brett Hall for third all time in career goals. He's getting good support on offense by a strong forward corps led by the likes of Reilly Smith, Jussi Jokinen and young guns Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov (the latter two are both dealing with injuries, however). Roberto Luongo has been a beast in net this season, backstopping Florida to its current place atop the Atlantic Division, five points ahead of Tampa Bay with 23 games remaining.

It will be huge opportunity for everyone to step up this week and get back in the win column -- plus, it wouldn't hurt to get a "W" against Detroit during national coverage on NBC Sports Network, right?

We'll see you on Thursday at Nationwide, 5th Line.

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