Game 60 Preview: Now or Never

After looking sloppy in their first post-Olympic game on Thursday evening, the Jackets look to get back on track against the Panthers.

Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets

March 1, 2014 - 2:00 pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Litter Box Cats
SBN's Panthers vs Blue Jackets Coverage

The Jackets are back in the friendly confines of Nationwide Arena this afternoon, in a rare matinee tilt against the Florida Panthers.

Both teams were in action Thursday evening, with the Jackets looking disjointed in a loss to the Devils, while the Panthers lost an exciting one on a late Alex Ovechkin goal. The Panthers are in the midst of another difficult season, but the Jackets are very much in the playoff hunt. At this point in the season, it's crucial for the Jackets to earn victories over teams that are so far below them in the standings. Must win? Yeah, that'll be the theme until the end of the regular season for the Jackets.

The Jackets will again be without Fedor Tyutin and Jared Boll, while the Panthers will be without the services of rookie Aleksander Barkov and Tomas Kopecky.

The game should be simple for the Jackets- beat the Panthers with special teams. The Panthers have the 30th-ranked powerplay and penalty kill- they are simply atrocious. With the return of Marian Gaborik on Thursday, the Jackets have a game-breaking weapon that should give their powerplay the juice it needs.

At this point it's looking like Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Tim Thomas in net, though that hasn't been confirmed at the time of this writing. I don't know about you guys, but I hope we see Timmeh, just for moments like this:

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(29-25-5, 63 Points; 5th division, 10th conference)

Nick Foligno Artem Anisimov Marian Gaborik
Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Nathan Horton
R.J. Umberger
Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert
Derek MacKenzie
Mark Letestu
David Savard
Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Florida Panthers
(22-30-7, 51 Points; 7th Division, 15th Conference)

Sean Bergenheim
Nick Bjugstad Brad Boyes
Jesse Winchester
Marcel Goc
Tomas Fleischmann
Jonathan Huberdeau Drew Shore
Scottie Upshall
Scott Gomez Shawn Matthias Krys Barch
Brian Campbell Tom Gilbert
Erik Gudbranson Ed Jovanovski
Dmitry Kulikov Dylan Olsen
Tim Thomas
Scott Clemmensen

Season Series

02/01/14 - Florida 1 at Columbus 4
03/01/14 - Florida at Columbus
04/12/14 - Columbus at Florida

Head to Head Stats

Florida Columbus
2.30 (28) GPG 2.85 (8)
3.10 (27) GAPG 2.80 (18)
9.2% (30) PP% 18.3% (15)
76.4% (30) PK% 81.5% (15)
Brad Boyes, 17 G leader Ryan Johansen, 24
Tom Gilbert, 22 A leader James Wisniewski, 30
Brad Boyes, 28 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 46
Erik Gudbranson, 81 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 86
11-17-3 Road/Home 16-11-2
2/27 vs. Washington, L 5-4 Last Game 2/27 vs. New Jersey, L 5-2
3-7-0 Last 10 4-5-1

Subscribe to The Cannon

Don’t miss out on the latest articles. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only articles.