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Blue Jackets at Panthers preview

Columbus seeks eighth win in past 11 games; Florida aims to avoid third straight defeat

by Harvey Fialkov / Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (8-4-0) at PANTHERS (4-6-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-O, NHL.TV


The Game 

The Columbus Blue Jackets look to win for the third time in four games and eighth time in 11 games when they visit the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Thursday.

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 4-3 shootout win against the Boston Bruins on Monday; Columbus lost a three-goal lead before forward Oliver Bjorkstrand scored the winning goal following overtime.

The Panthers look to avoid a third straight loss; Florida is 2-5-1 in its past eight games.


Players to watch

Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, is 7-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against-average and .934 save percentage. He is looking for his fourth straight win; he's 3-0-0 and has allowed five goals in his past three starts.

Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past six games, including a career-high four points (one goal, three assists) in an 8-5 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. His 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) tie him for the Florida scoring lead with linemates Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov.


They said it

"Obviously, I played center for most of my career, kind of my natural position. I got some speedy wingers.'' -- Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad, who has shifted back from wing to center on a new line with rookies Owen Tippett and Chase Balisy

"Law of averages, you get that many good players on a unit together, good things are going to happen. … We've just got to relax, know who we are and get into it, and I guarantee the success will start happening before long." -- Blue Jackets center Nick Foligno on Columbus' power play, ranked 31st in the NHL


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Nick Foligno -- Josh Anderson

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Tyler Motte

Matt Calvert -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Sonny Milano -- Zac Dalpe -- Pierre-Luc Dubois

Zach Werenski  -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Markus Hannikainen

Injured: Cam Atkinson (hip), Gabriel Carlsson (lower body), Lukas Sedlak (ankle) 


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Jamie McGinn -- Vincent Trocheck -- Radim Vrbata

Chase Balisy -- Nick Bjugstad -- Owen Tippett

Micheal Haley -- Derek MacKenzie -- Denis Malgin

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson -- Alex Petrovic

Ian McCoshen -- Mark Pysyk

James Reimer

Antti Niemi

Scratched: MacKenzie Weegar

Injured: Colton Sceviour (upper body), Connor Brickley (upper body), Jared McCann (lower body), Roberto Luongo (hand)


Status report

Carlsson practiced Wednesday for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury against the New York Rangers on Oct. 13. … Luongo is week to week. … McCann and Sceviour are expected to return Saturday against the Rangers.


Stat pack

The Blue Jackets power play is 0-for-13 on the road and 3-for-35 this season. … The Panthers have allowed 3.91 goals per game, second most in the league behind the Arizona Coyotes (4.31).

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