PANTHERS (35-18-7) at BLUE JACKETS (25-29-8)
TV: 3 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-O, NHL.TV
Season series: The Florida Panthers will try for a three-game sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Aleksander Barkov scored the deciding goal to give the Panthers a 2-1 shootout win on Dec. 4 at Nationwide Arena. Barkov scored twice and Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists in a 3-2 win Dec. 27 at BB&T Center. Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist for Columbus. Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist for Florida.
Panthers team scope: Huberdeau, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday with an upper-body injury, won't travel with the Panthers for their five-game road trip, coach Gerard Gallant told the Miami Herald on Friday. "As soon as he's up and feeling good and ready to go he'll meet us out there," Gallant said. "If it works out, then fine; if not, we'll wait until we get back home. He's going to start hopefully skating in the near future." Huberdeau, who is day-to-day, was injured when he was hit by Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba on Feb. 20. He didn't play in Florida's 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday that capped a six-game homestand in which the Panthers went 3-2-1. "It's nice to win before you go on your trip," Gallant said. "Hopefully the guys are loose and ready to go."
Blue Jackets team scope: Defenseman Jack Johnson was placed on injured reserve Friday. Johnson, who has 14 points (six goals) in 60 games this season and leads Columbis in average time on ice (24:10), will be sidelined for two weeks after sustaining an upper-body injury in a 6-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. Columbus recalled defenseman Michael Paliotta from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. Defenseman Cody Goloubef, a scratch in the past six games, took Johnson's spot next to David Savard during practice Friday, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Coach John Tortorella told the newspaper he was unsure if Goloubef would replace Johnson on Saturday. "We've gone through it the whole year," Tortorella said of the injuries. "This just gives other people opportunities."