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Panthers aim to bounce back against Jackets

by Brian Compton /
BLUE JACKETS (21-20-5) at PANTHERS (21-20-3)

TV: Fox Sports-Ohio, Fox Sports-Florida.

Last 10: Columbus 3-5-2; Florida 5-3-2.

Season Series: This is the first of two meetings between the teams. They haven't faced each other since Dec. 9, 2009, when Columbus earned a 3-0 victory at Nationwide Arena.

Big Story: It'll be interesting to see if Florida can quickly bounce back following a very disheartening 3-2 shootout loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday at the BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers held a 2-0 lead with roughly two minutes left in regulation before Atlanta rallied to send the game to an extra session.

"Again, the story for us is the inability to cash in that third one," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "You let a team hang around, sometimes that's what you get."

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: After earning three of a possible four points against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blue Jackets picked up another point on Tuesday night in a 3-2 shootout loss at Tampa Bay. R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard scored for the Blue Jackets, who were coming off a win and an overtime loss in consecutive games against the Central Division-leading Wings following a five-game losing skid. Goalie Mathieu Garon assisted on Umberger's goal and stopped 20 shots during regulation.

"Yes, I would have loved to have two points, but at the end of the day, we can't dwell over something that comes down to a one-on-one competition," Columbus coach Scott Arniel said.

Panthers: Monday's game was scoreless after two periods before Dennis Wideman scored at 4:30 on a two-man advantage. Dmitry Kulikov made it 2-0 at 7:18, and Florida seemed well on its way to what would have been its fourth straight win.

But Bryan Little and the Thrashers had other plans.
"I thought we deserved to win that game," Wideman said. "We played well. The first goal, the puck was just bouncing around all over the place, we just couldn't find it, ended up going right to one of their guys and he bats it in. The second was kind of a fluky one again.

"What do you do? They kept battling, you've got to give to them, but I thought we deserved better than that."

Who's Hot: Umberger has goals in back-to-back games for the Blue Jackets. … Panthers center Mike Santorelli has a six-game point streak, while right wing Cory Stillman has an assist in each of the last four games.

Injury Report: Blue Jackets winger Ethan Moreau is out 2-4 weeks with a rib injury. … Panthers forward Chris Higgins (hamstring) is day-to-day, while Byron Bitz (sports hernia) and defenseman Bryan McCabe (broken jaw) are out.

Stat Pack: Stephen Weiss had two assists on Monday, giving him four in the last two games and eight in his last five. Weiss' first assist Monday was No. 200 in his NHL career.

Puck Drop: "Right now, we're playing well, getting points every night. "We weren't doing that in the early part of the year." -- Panthers coach Peter DeBoer
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