Game Preview: Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets

The Panthers make their first and only visit to Nationwide Arena this evening.

Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Game Faceoff

Welcome back home, Blue Jackets! Thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins laying an egg last night against the Philadelphia Flyers, a win tonight vaults the Jackets into second place the Metropolitan Division tonight. Also at stake tonight? Not getting swept in the season series by the Panthers. In the two previous matchups in Florida this season, the Blue Jackets have come up short at the end of the night.

Florida comes into the game on a 2-7-1 run in their last ten games. The Panthers will also be without star defenseman Aaron Ekblad due to a concussion (hattip to Dan P. for pointing that out). The Panthers are swooning right now, so this should be a game that the Jackets can get two points out of.

The Blue Jackets have everything to play for the rest of the way. That doesn’t need to be repeated. The Blue Jackets control their destiny for the President’s Trophy and have to take care of business at home to reach that goal. Part of taking care of business at home involves staying out of the penalty box. The Blue Jackets spent most of the game on Monday night (approximately) on the penalty kill. The team cannot afford to play an undisciplined style down the stretch and lapse into bad habits ahead of the playoffs.

In lineup news, Lukas Sedlak returned to practice yesterday. He skated as an extra forward yesterday, as did Lauri Korpikoski. I would expect to see the same lineup we saw on Monday night, except with Nick Foligno reclaiming his spot next to Alexander Wennberg now that he is no longer ill. Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in goal tonight.

Go Jackets! And, since I likely won’t be around this weekend, go Flyers as well. Please beat Wichita State tomorrow night.

Probable Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell Sam Gagner Oliver Bjorkstrand
Matt Calvert William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Kyle Quincey Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Florida Panthers

Jonathan Huberdeau Aleksander Barkov Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen Vincent Trocheck Reilly Smith
Thomas Vanek Nick Bjugstad Jonathan Marchessault
Shawn Thornton Michael Sgarbossa Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle Jason Demers
Michael Matheson Alex Petrovic
Jakub Kindle Mark Pysyk
James Reimer
Reto Berra

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