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Panthers at Blue Jackets preview

Bobrovsky plays at Columbus for first time since signing with Florida

by Craig Merz / Staff Writer

PANTHERS (20-13-5) at BLUE JACKETS (17-14-8)

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


The Game

Sergei Bobrovsky will play at Columbus for the first time with the Florida Panthers when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.

Bobrovsky signed a seven-year contract with the Panthers on July 1 after the goalie played the previous seven seasons with the Blue Jackets. He has the most wins (213) and shutouts (33) in Columbus history and won the Vezina Trophy as the League's best goalie in 2013 and 2017.

Bobrovsky made 33 saves in a 4-1 win against Columbus at BB&T Center on Dec. 7.

Columbus seeks to extend its point streak to 11 games. The Blue Jackets, who are 6-0-4 in their past 10, will be without goalie Joonas Korpisalo for 4-6 weeks after he sustained a knee injury in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Rookie Elvis Merzlikins (0-4-4, 3.41 goals-against average, .889 save percentage) will start and try for his first NHL win.

The Panthers have won two straight and five of six (5-1-0) after a three-game losing streak.


Players to watch

Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in a six-game point streak.

Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past six games.


They said it

"It's going to be special for him. He's been here a long time. It's going to be a great night for him, a great night for us." -- Evgenii Dadonov on Sergei Bobrovsky's return to Columbus

"If we play well, we can help him out. Win or lose, it's never the goalie's fault," -- Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois on goalie Elvis Merzlikins


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Noel Acciari

Frank Vatrano -- Brian Boyle -- Mike Hoffman

Colton Sceviour -- Dominic Toninato -- Mark Pysyk

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson -- Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky 

Chris Driedger

Scratched: Denis Malgin, Jayce Hawryluk

Injured: MacKenzie Weegar (upper body)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Kevin Stenlund

Nick Foligno -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Nathan Gerbe

Alexandre Texier -- Alexander Wennberg -- Eric Robinson

Jakob Lilja -- Riley Nash -- Ryan MacInnis

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard

Gabriel Carlsson -- Dean Kukan

Elvis Merzlikins

Matiss Kivlenieks

Scratched: Scott Harrington

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Emil Bemstrom (ribs), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Ryan Murray (lower body), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Andrew Peeke (finger), Cam Atkinson (lower body), Oliver Bjorkstrand (ribs, oblique), Joonas Korpisalo (knee), Sonny Milano (upper body)


Status report

Other than Merzlikins, there are no lineup changes for Columbus.


Stat pack

Barkov has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past two games. … Acciari has nine points (eight goals, one assist) in his past six games. … The Blue Jackets have points in 12 straight home games (11-0-1) vs. the Panthers, including five straight wins. … Gerbe is expected to play his 400th NHL game.

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