Blue Jackets-Panthers Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (10-21-4-3) at Florida Panthers (12-17-9-2).
TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Gerard Gallant will try to take another step toward getting a full-time gig.
Fresh off a win in his debut as interim coach, Gallant will try to lead the
Columbus Blue Jackets to a second straight victory when they travel to Florida
to play the Panthers.
Marc Denis made 37 saves to help Columbus beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0
on Friday in Gallant's first game since replacing Doug MacLean, who stepped
down on Thursday.
"From 11 o'clock yesterday morning until before the puck dropped, I was
nervous," Gallant said. "I was butterflied and I was a little scared. It was
really good to get the puck dropped and get the game going because that's what
I enjoy most about hockey is the game itself and it went real well."
Gallant managed to get what took MacLean -- also the team's president and
general manager -- 15 games to accomplish -- a win on the road. The Blue Jackets
are 2-11-1-2 away from Nationwide Arena.
"With everything that's happened around our team the last couple of days,
this was a great way to start something new," Denis said. "Obviously it's not
the whole battle -- there's a long way to go -- but you've got to start
"We said we'd make yesterday Day 1 with a change behind our bench and
hopefully we'll have a different philosophy and a different feeling about this
Rostislav Klesla scored his first goal in 35 games for Columbus, and Manny
Malhotra added an empty-net goal with 1:10 left for the Blue Jackets.
The Panthers had their six-game home unbeaten streak (3-0-3) snapped with a
2-1 loss to visiting Philadelphia on Friday. Rookie Nathan Horton scored for
the Panthers, who also saw their three-game overall unbeaten streak (1-0-2)
Roberto Luongo made 21 saves in the loss for Florida, which starts a
four-game road trip after this game.