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Game Preview #25 - Second Verse, Same As The First

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The Blue Jackets complete the home-and-home with Florida in Miami.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers

December 4, 2014 - 7:30 pm EST
BB&T Center - Sunrise, Florida
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Litter Box Cats

First of all, how bad is the Metro division? Well, four of the six worst teams in the league in terms of points thus far reside in the Metro. That should tell you how much stringing a few wins together could change the Jackets' fortunes in what has been a crap season thus far. New Jersey is currently fifth in the division, just six points ahead of Columbus while having also played one more game. They are 25th in the league. The Rangers are 19th in the league in total points. They also currently hold a divisional playoff spot right now.

This is a bad division, outside of the top two right now, folks. As much as we may want to (and probably should), completely writing off the Metro's third playoff spot just can't be done yet.

That having been said, it's up to the Jackets to do something about it. The last two games have seen better defensive efforts in terms of goaltending as well as forcing opponents into tougher shot selection. Columbus had been allowing over three and a half goals per game, and held to decent opponents to three goals TOTAL in the last two games. This would be a sign of improvement if they could show it was sustainable.

Not much to say about Florida, other than they may have been looking past Columbus last time around as they went into Detroit the next night and hung a loss on the Wings. Safe to say they won't be looking past Columbus tonight. Roberto Luongo gets the start in goal after stopping 38 of 41 shots the other night in Motown. No apparent changes for the Jackets.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(7-15-2, 16 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)

Scott Hartnell Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Kerby Rychel Boone Jenner Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Michael Chaput Jack Skille
Brian Gibbons Adam Cracknell Jared Boll
Jack Johnson Dalton Prout
Jordan Leopold David Savard
Kevin Connauton James Wisniewski
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Florida Panthers
(10-7-6, 26 Points; 6th Division, 8th Conference)

Jonathan Huberdeau Nick Bjugstad Tomas Fleischmann
Sean Bergenheim Jussi Jokinen Brad Boyes
Brandon Pirri Vincent Trocheck Jimmy Hayes
Tomas Kopecky Derek MacKenzie Shawn Thornton
Brian Campbell Aaron Ekblad
Willie Mitchell Dmitry Kulikov
Dylan Olsen Erik Gudbranson
Roberto Luongo
Al Montoya

Season Series

12/01/14 - Florida 1 at Columbus 2
12/04/14 - Columbus at Florida
01/29/15 - Columbus at Florida

Head to Head Stats

Florida Columbus
2.13 (28) GPG 2.25 (26)
2.39 (8) GAPG 3.46 (29)
15.3% (22) PP% 22.0% (7)
80.2% (16) PK% 75.6% (26)
Nick Bjugstad, 8 G leader Nick Foligno, 10
Jussi Jokinen, 11 A leader Ryan Johansen, 16
Aaron Ekblad / Jussi Jokinen, 13 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 25
Shawn Thornton / Scottie Upshall, 20 PIM leader Jared Boll, 42
5-4-1 Home/Road 3-7-1
5-3-2 Last 10 3-6-1
12/2 @ Detroit, W 4-3 Last Game 12/1 vs. Florida, W 2-1