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game preview

Blue Jackets at Panthers preview

Columbus looking to end three-game skid; Bobrovsky facing former team for first time

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (11-13-4) at PANTHERS (13-9-5)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-F, FS-O, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Sergei Bobrovsky will face the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first time since joining the Florida Panthers when they play at BB&T Center on Saturday.

Bobrovsky signed a seven-year contract with the Panthers on July 1 after playing the previous seven seasons with the Blue Jackets, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2013 and 2017. He is 9-6-4 with a 3.48 goals-against average and an .884 save percentage, which is tied for last in the NHL among goalies to play at least 10 games this season.

Florida has lost four of its past five games after winning five of its previous six.

Columbus has lost three in a row after going 5-2-0 in its previous seven games.

 

Players to watch

Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois has one assist in his past six games but has gotten at least one point in each of his six games against Florida (two goals, seven assists).

Panthers center Aleksander Barkov has scored in each of his past two games and is one shy of tying Stephen Weiss for fourth in Florida history.

 

They said it

"I am certainly not going to put any type of negative tone on how we played because we played our [butt] off and played really well. But we are in that wave of finding ways to lose games, and we have to try to turn this around." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella on the 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday

"It will be a weird feeling to play against guys you spent seven years with. It'll be interesting. I know how hard they work. It's not going to be an easy game, that's for sure." -- Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Sonny Milano -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Josh Anderson

Nick Foligno -- Alexandre Texier -- Cam Atkinson

Emil Bemstrom -- Riley Nash -- Alexander Wennberg

Dean Kukan -- Seth Jones

Ryan Murray -- David Savard

Vladislav Gavrikov -- Andrew Peeke

Joonas Korpisalo

Elvis Merzlikins

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Eric Robinson

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Kole Sherwood (oblique), Zach Werenski (shoulder)

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman -- Vincent Trocheck -- Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano -- Aleksi Saarela -- Noel Acciari

Dominic Toninato -- Brian Boyle -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

MacKenzie Weegar -- Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson -- Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky 

Chris Driedger

Scratched: Mark Pysyk, Denis Malgin

Injured: Jayce Hawryluk (upper body)

 

Status report

The Blue Jackets placed Werenski on injured reserve Friday, retroactive to Nov. 30. … Peeke, who is from Parkland, Florida, is expected to remain in the lineup after making his NHL debut Thursday. … Saarela will make his NHL debut after being recalled from Springfield of the
American Hockey League on Friday. Saarela, who was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 22, had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 17 games for Springfield.

 

Stat pack

Columbus has won seven straight against Florida. … The Blue Jackets are 0-9-3 when their opponent scores first. … Yandle has four assists during a three-game point streak. … Tortorella is one win shy of tying Darryl Sutter (634) for 15th in NHL history.

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