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Game #4 Preview: Jackets head south to face the Panthers

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Need at least 2 points out of a difficult Florida road trip

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 7:00 EST
BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Litter Box Cats

Columbus Blue Jackets

(2-1-0, 4 points, t-3rd Metro, t-4th East)

at

Florida Panthers (0-0-1, 1 point, 8th Atlantic, 15th East)

As Hurricane Michael flew over the Florida panhandle, the Blue Jackets flew to the other end of the state to face the Florida Panthers in their home opener. The Panthers just barely missed the playoffs last year and appear to be a threat to break through this year behind a young, talented roster. Can the Blue Jackets build on Tuesday’s win over Colorado?

Player to Watch

Aleksander Barkov

As a changing of the guard, the Panthers captaincy passed this preseason from gritty veteran Derek MacKenzie to talented youngster Barkov. The Finn is still only 23 years old, but feels like a veteran since he made his NHL debut at 18. He has eclipsed 20 goals, 30 assists, and 50 points for three consecutive seasons, including a 27/51/78 line last year in 22:04 minutes per game. All while starting more shifts in the defensive zone than the offensive zone (59.6%), winning 53.5% of his faceoffs, and carrying a CF% of 51.9. Were he Canadian or playing in a traditional hockey market, he would be a star of the league. He should probably be considered one anyway.

Jackets Notes

With the return of Scott Harrington from the IR before Tuesday’s game, Gabriel Carlsson has been returned to the Cleveland Monsters ... Speaking of Monsters, those kids have won their first 3 games ... As the special teams continue to be tweaked, look for Anthony Duclair to get shifts with the first power play unit ... The best Jackets news of the week is the announcement of a new partnership between the team and Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Co. GLBC has long been a favorite of mine, with their Oktoberfest being my favorite beer of all time. Among their regulars, props to the Edmund Fitzgerald porter and Eliot Ness amber lager. I look forward to sipping some draft Christmas Ale while watching hockey this holiday season.

The Other Bench

This is the Panthers’ season opener, and only the second game of the season. They opened on Saturday at Tampa and haven’t played since. Meanwhile, other teams have played as many as 4 games. This is weird, right? ... That game was a shootout loss ... Goalie Robert Luongo left that game with a sprained MCL and will miss 2-4 weeks ... Former Jacket and former captain Derek MacKenzie has announced that this will be his final NHL season. He is currently injured and will not play tonight ... The lone goal for Florida in their opener was scored by an unlikely candidate: Jacob MacDonald, a bottom pair defenseman making his NHL debut after three long years working up through the ECHL and AHL. Read more about his journey here.

Season Series

10/11/2018 CBJ @ FLA
11/15/2018 FLA @ CBJ
01/05/2019 CBJ @ FLA

Stats

Florida Columbus
1.00 (28) GPG 3.00 (16)
1.00 (1) GAPG 2.33 (8)
0.0% (24) PP% 13.3% (20)
100.0% (1) PK% 75.0% (16)
49.37% (17) EV Corsi % 52.34% (12)
104.0 (7) EV PDO 98.6 (20)
Jacob MacDonald, 1 G Leader Josh Anderson, Nick Foligno, and Artemi Panarin, 2
Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau, 1 A Leader Anthony Duclair, Markus Nutivaara, Nick Foligno, and Alexander Wennberg (suck it, haters), 2
Jacob MacDonald, Vincent Trocheck, and Jonathan Huberdeau, 1 P Leader Nick Foligno, 4
Keith Yandle, Vincent Trocheck, and Jonathan Huberdeau, 2 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 4
0-0-0 Home / Road 1-0-0
0-0-1 Last 10 2-1-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Anthony Duclair
Boone Jenner Riley Nash Josh Anderson
Oliver BJORKSTRAND Lukas Sedlak Sonny Milano
Zach Werenski David Savard
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Hott Scarrington Adam Clendening
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Florida Panthers
Evgeny Dadonov Aleksander Barkov Nick Bjugstad
Jonathan Huberdeau Vincent Trocheck Mike Hoffman
Frank Vatrano Jared McCann Denis Malgin
Maxim Mamin Juho Lammikko Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle Aaron Ekblad
Michael Matheson Mark Pysyk
Jacob Macdonald Alex Petrovic
James Reimer
Michael Hutchinson