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Game #29 Preview: Visiting Bob at his retirement home

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Here’s what you need to know

Columbus Blue Jackets v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday, December 7, 2019 - 7:00 EST
BB&T Center - Sunrise, Florida
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, ESPN+; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Litter Box Cats

Columbus Blue Jackets (11-13-4, 26 points, 7th Metro, 13th East)

at

Florida Panthers (13-9-5, 31 points, 3rd Atlantic, 8th East)

It’s a week of reunions, as the Jackets face a recently departed player for the second-straight game. Will this encounter end in a better result?

Player to Watch

Sergei Bobrovsky

Had to be him, right? You know the story: over seven years in Columbus, Bob won 213 games, two Vezina Trophies, and had a .921 save percentage and 2.41 goals against average. After his relationship with the front office chilled over, he left in free agency and signed a seven year, $70 million dollar contract with Florida this summer.

Things have not gone as planned, however. In 20 starts, he has a 9-6-4 record but a lowly .884 save percentage and 3.48 goals against average. Both of those stats are lower than either Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins...at nearly 10 times the cap hit! Bob has sat for the last two Panthers games, with his last start being a 4-3 lost at Washington the day before Thanksgiving. Remember how well Bob did after a layoff here? Maybe this is what the Jackets need to wake up their offense.

For more on Bob’s season, check out this Athletic article by George Richards.

Jackets Notes

The Jackets enter this game having lost three straight, and five of their last seven ... Andrew Peeke excelled in his NHL debut on Thursday, with the Jackets out-chancing the Rangers 18-1 when he was on the ice. Now the Parkland, Florida native gets a chance to play in front of his family and friends ... Both Alexander Wennberg and Riley Nash played fewer than 10:00 on Thursday, so I’m guessing one will be scratched so Eric Robinson can return to the lineup ... Cam Atkinson scored his first 5v5 goal of the season on Thursday ... Zach Werenski was placed on the injured reserve list, retroactive to November 30.

The Other Bench

Bob’s backup, Chris Driedger, earned a shutout in his first NHL start, against Nashville. He then gave up three unanswered goals in the next game, against Minnesota ... The Panthers are in third place in the Atlantic, but their 31 points would only be good enough for sixth place in the Metro. In the Atlantic, only three points separate second place Montreal and sixth place Tampa Bay.

Season Series

12/07/2019 CBJ @ FLA
12/31/2019 FLA @ CBJ
02/04/2020 FLA @ CBJ

Stats

Florida Columbus
3.44 (5) GPG 2.50 (29)
3.48 (29) GAPG 3.07 (19)
22.9% (7) PP% 19.8% (12)
84.8% (7) PK% 79.5% (19)
51.44% (9) 5v5 Corsi % 50.60% (12)
52.63% (6) 5v5 Fenwick % 52.46% (7)
8.6 (13) 5v5 Shot % 6.3 (29)
.882 (30) 5v5 Save % .917 (16)
Brett Connolly, 12 G Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 10
Aleksander Barkov, 23 A Leader Seth Jones, 12
Jonathan Huberdeau, 33 P Leader Gustav Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois, 18
Dryden Hunt, 24 PIM Leader Boone Jenner, 22
7-4-2 Home / Road 3-5-3
5-5-0 Last 10 5-5-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Sonny Milano Pierre-Luc Dubois Emil Bemstrom
Gustav Nyquist Boone Jenner Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Nick Foligno Alexandre Texier Cam Atkinson
Alexander Wennberg Riley Nash Josh Anderson
Dean Kukan Seth Jones
Ryan Murray David Savard
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Florida Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau Alexsander Barkov Evgenii Dadonov
Brett Connolly Vincent Trocheck Mike Hoffman
Frank Vatrano Aleksi Saarela Noel Acciari
Dominic Toninato Brian Boyle Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle Aaron Ekblad
Mackenzie Weegar Anton Stralman
Michael Matheson Mark Pysyk
Sergei Bobrovsky
Chris Driedger

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