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At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Panthers

by Staff

The Florida Panthers can earn their sixth consecutive victory for the first time in seven years and possibly take over first place in the Atlantic Division with a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday at BB&T Center.

Florida hasn't had a winning streak of more than five straight since winning seven in a row March 2-16, 2008. The Panthers and Boston Bruins each have 42 points, one behind the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens.

The Panthers are 11-3-0 since Nov. 27.

"We want to lead with the momentum we left on our break and continue it," defenseman Aaron Ekblad told the Panthers website. "Obviously I think we all feel good right now, getting a couple of days to rest and relax and fix up some minor bumps and bruises. Hopefully we build off the momentum that we had going into the break and it works out well for us."

The Blue Jackets play the second of a back-to-back set following a 5-2 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Columbus held a 2-1 lead before taking three minor penalties in a three-second span of the second period and allowing two 5-on-3 goals in 32 seconds.

"Those are the types of things that have really defined us, at least since I've been here," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said after the game. "I'm not trying to disrespect Tampa at all, but we give too many things for free."

The Blue Jackets conclude a stretch of five of six games away from Nationwide Arena on Sunday, including three straight. They're 3-7-3 in their past 13 games and their 29 points are 30th in the NHL.

Here are the projected lineups:


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Rene Bourque

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Saad

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Gregory Campbell - William Karlsson - David Clarkson

Jack Johnson - Ryan Murray

Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout

Andrew Bodnarchuk - Justin Falk

Curtis McElhinney

Joonas Korpisalo

Injured: Nick Foligno (undisclosed), Kevin Connauton (undisclosed), Cody Goloubef (broken jaw), Markus Hannikainen (shoulder), Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), David Savard (lower body)

Scratched: Jared Boll


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Reilly Smith

Brandon Pirri - Derek MacKenzie - Logan Shaw

Quinton Howden - Corban Knight - Shawn Thornton

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Dmitry Kulikov - Aaron Ekblad

Willie Mitchell - Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Nick Bjugstad (upper body), Steven Kampfer (lower body), Dave Bolland (lower body)

Scratched:?????????Connor Brickley

Status report: Bjugstad skated with the Panthers on Sunday and is getting closer to a return, according to the Sun Sentinel. He has been out since Nov. 29. … Luongo will start for the Panthers. … McElhinney will start for the Blue Jackets. He replaced Korpisalo in the third period Saturday after Korpisalo gave up four goals on 18 shots.

Who's hot: All nine of Wennberg's assists have come in his past 10 games. … Hartnell has five goals and 11 points in his past 10 games, including points in four of his past five. … Jagr has two goals and seven points in his past eight games.

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